How are hybrid cars made? ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: How are hybrid cars made?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How are hybrid cars made?

This piece from ZDNet is quite amazing. A description of how the plant that makes the Toyota Prius, Camry Hybrid and Premio (Japanese only) cars over in Japan makes me (almost) want to go work there.

A list of some of the innovations noted:
1. The andon cord is hung overhead on both sides of every production line. When a worker sees a problem, he pulls the cord, stopping the line ... And, instead of an alarm, a cheery song plays.

2. New engineers spend two months on the floor followed by three at a dealer.

3. A doorless system, whereby Toyota removes the doors after painting and before final assembly to reduce nicks and scratches.

4. About two to four hours of inventory are kept on hand. Whenever workers in the procurement area fill a bin with electronic order is placed at a third-party supplier for more parts.

5. Except for hybrid cars and gas cars, different cars and engines are assembled on the same manufacturing line.

7. Toyota looks to the concept of "jidoka," which roughly translates to "man and machine working together." A dolly filled with parts and spare tools follows a worker as he walks from one end of his work area to another. (These are different than the motorized robots that scurry across the floor). Following the worker cuts down on wasted movement (although, it may be creepy in a sci-fi movie type of way).

8. The rakuraku, a sling-chair thing suspended from the ceiling, shuttles workers along as the car goes through the assembly line.

9. Both the rakuraku and automated dolly were suggestions from assembly line workers. Overall, employees submit about 600,000 ideas a year--that's about 14 suggestions per employee--on ways to improve processes. Employees get bounties ranging from 500 yen (about $4.20) to 200,000 yen (about $1,680) for ideas that get implemented.

The results: In all, it takes only about 20 hours to go from stamping out the first steel body parts to a finished car. Toyota accounts for 43 percent of car sales in Japan, excluding the minicar market, and 16.5 percent of U.S. sales.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This tells me nothing about how hybrids are made!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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