Pran-RFL first company to make helmets locally

Durable Plastic Limited, a concern of Pran-RFL Group, is scheduled to launch its “Safemet” motorcycle helmet brand at a hotel in the capital today.

The company started producing motorcycle helmets, a first in the country, at its factory in Narsingdi’s Palash upazila at the start of June.

According to the company, 15 lakh to 16 lakh helmets worth around Tk 500 crore are annually sold in the country and the sales are growing at some 20 per cent. 

About 60 per cent of the helmets are imported from India and the rest from other countries, including China, it said.

About 6 lakh motorcycles were sold in 2022 and currently there are 40 lakh motorcycle users in the country, it added.

The number of motorcycle users in Bangladesh is increasing day by day due to various reasons, including socioeconomic and lifestyle changes, said Toukirul Islam, executive director of Durable Plastic Limited.

This has led to increasing demand for helmets for which the company invested around Tk 20 crore to set up the factory and employed 500 people to bring high quality helmets within the purchasing power of people, he said.

“Our helmets are made of advanced ABS shell and polycarbonate material,” he said, adding that the factory has an annual production capacity of over 120,000 helmets.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) may be the most common helmet outer shell material in the world thanks to its affordability, ease of manufacturing, its strength and reliability.

Polycarbonate is a transparent plastic used in making shatter windows, lightweight eyeglass lenses, packaging, interior cladding, outdoor glazing, roofing designs, automotive, electrical and electronics, and personal security applications.

“Most imported helmets are not up to the standard. Our helmets are certified by the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution,” said Kamruzzaman Kamal, director for marketing at Pran-RFL Group.

Over 50 models of about 20 brands of helmets are available in the country, said traders.

Initially the company will sell two types of helmets — a half-face one at Tk 1,400 and a full-face one for Tk 2,250, according to the company.

Durable Plastic Limited also plans to export helmets and some foreign buyers have already visited the factory, added the company.

Global motorcycle helmet sales stood at around $7.25 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow to $20.09 billion by 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights. 

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