e-works News

The 4th e-works Smart Factory Delegation to Japan ends successfully

e-works successfully organized the 4th “Smart Factory” delegation to Japan from December 9th to December 15th 2018.

During the week, e-works delegation went to 9 companies: Kawasaki, Kyocera Group, Toyota, KARIMOKU, Komatsu, Fujitsu Ishikawa Plant, FANUC, Makino Atsugi Plant, and Mitsubishi Electric. Delegation members experienced Japanese advanced manufacturing processes and technologies and were highly impressed by their focus and spirits of continuous improvement.

The first stop the delegation came to Kawasaki and visited the robotic exhibition hall and the assembly plant of the high-end motorcycle "Ninja Series". The robot exhibition hall mainly displays different types of robots in automobile welding, painting, assembly, transferring, and picking of automotive, medical and semiconductor industries. In the assembly plant of "Ninja Series" motorcycle, the members learned Kawasaki’s practices in lean production, lean logistics, foolproof and error prevention, as well as Anton system and AGV.

Different robots applied in automotive industry

The second stop, they came to Kyocera Group, which was founded by the famous entrepreneur Inamori Kazuo. By means of business model of Amoeba, the Kyocera Group has gone through many economic crises and become the myth of the global business community. They watched the documentary of Inamori Kazuo and experienced Inamori Kazuo’s philosophical thinking of "respect for nature and love for mankind". The Kyocera Precision Ceramics Museum opened in 1998 and recorded the history of the semiconductor industry and ceramic packaging products, and the technological evolution of precision ceramics.

Manufacturing process of precision ceramics

On the second day the delegation went to the Toyota Motor Motomachi factory in Aichi Prefecture and visited the assembly shop and the Toyota Motor Hall. Toyota's assembly shop embodies Toyota's Toyota Production Model (TPS), including just-in-time production, in-sequence supply, mixed flow production, and human-machine collaboration. It is also committed to reducing emissions. Toyota Motor emphasizes good products, good ideas, and good quality stem from each process. Defective products won’t flow into next process. Toyota Motor hall was refurbished in 2005, adding Toyota's environmental protection, safety, and latest vehicle display.

Display of Eco and Emotion in Toyota Motor Hall

In the afternoon the delegation visited Karimoku, a famous Japanese high-end furniture manufacturer. In the furniture showroom, the delegates experienced Karimoku's high-end sofa The First, which is very ergonomic and comfortable. At the Karimoku factory, we can see that the production line can produce a variety of products at the same time. Karimoku pays great attention to the combination of man and machine. The production of various furniture parts adopts the combination of CNC woodworking machining center and manual equipment.

Karimoku high-end sofa, The First

The third day the delegation went to the Kusatsu, the world's leading engineering machinery giant. It is the parent factory that provides guidance on production and development for five sub-factories in Germany, the United States, China, Sweden and Brazil. The delegation visited the newly built assembly shop that achieved efficient use of energy. Komatsu's Smart Construction broadened everyone’s outlook. Firstly, the amount of earthwork can be automatically measured by the drone. Then, according to the model, the corresponding quantity and type of machinery were accurately matched. In addition, Komatsu's intelligent excavator monitors the completed workload in real time through the visual sensor installed in the cab, thus progress of the project could be checked through remote mobile terminals. Komatsu has achieved completely unmanned, remotely controlled mining machinery.

Komatsu’s machinery in exhibition hall

Later the day the delegation walked into the Fujitsu Ishikawa Plant and visited Fujitsu's SMT (Surface Mount Technology) workshop and assembly workshop. Fujitsu Ishikawa Plant applies a mixed production and MTO model that enables rapid changeovers of different products within 15 minutes. In addition, the Fujitsu Ishikawa Plant uses a robotic assembly unit to fully assemble hard disk.

Fujitsu DPS sorting system

On Thursday, the delegation came to FANUC headquarters in Yamanashi Prefecture and visited FANUC's reliability evaluation building, central exhibition hall, third machining factory, robot assembly factory, servo motor factory, and maintenance factory. The reliability evaluation tests are divided into hardware and software laboratory, covering high temperature and high pressure cleaning test, CNC software automatic test, electromagnetic wave test, water immersion test, limit test, robot cable aging test and other tests. There are common painting robots, collaborative robots, and various visual robots that recognize colors, shapes, and positions in central exhibition hall. The Zero-Turn Machine (ZDT) service based on the Internet of Things helps companies achieve fault early warning which significantly reduce maintenance costs.

Collaborative robots of FANUC

On Friday morning, the delegation went into the Makino Atsugi Factory, where they mainly visited the spindle production, assembly and inspection workshop. Spindle is the key component to ensure the precision of the machine tool. In order to better support flexible production, Makino has begun to use its leading AGV technology on the development of iAssist, a mobile industrial robot. At the same time, Makino provides customers with predictive services for machine tools using its IIOT technology based on the self-developed ProNETConneX system.

Q&A session in Makino

On Friday afternoon, the delegation visited the Mitsubishi Electric FA Solution Center in Tokyo and learned its Factory Automation business and practices of e-F@ctory solution in the smart factory. The members of the delegation had an intuitive understanding of the e-F@ctory intelligent manufacturing solution. At the same time, the efficient operation of the automated production unit, the application of visual management system and edge computing also left a deep impression on the members.

FA solution for food industry

In the week, the delegation members worked tirelessly through Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Ishikawa, Yamanashi, and Kanagawa to Tokyo, with a journey of more than 1,300 kilometers. Through on-site visits, technical lectures, Q&A and internal seminars, this trip gave delegates a deep understanding of why the top Japanese manufacturing companies could success in the context of increasingly personalized customer needs, increasingly fierce competition, energy conservation and environmental protection requirements. The members shared their experiences and inspirations with each other. It was a journey of harvest and ingenuity.

As a third-party professional service organization dedicated to promoting smart manufacturing, e-works will continue to provide opportunities for manufacturers to study and exchange abroad. In 2019, in addition to organize delegations to Japan, Germany, and the United States, e-works will also open study tours to Western Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, France), Southern Europe (Switzerland, Italy), Taiwan, and Israel. We sincerely look forward to going together with you to explore world-renowned manufacturing companies and industrial software companies.

Special report about this event: http://www.e-works.net.cn/report/20181209japan/japan.html

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