Honda’s newest factory in Yorii, Japan provides a view of the future of car manufacturing. Employing the latest technologies, it is lean and efficient.
Automotive News reports that the plant, which opened in July this year, has achieved significant energy gains and taken automation to the next level.
The new plant manufacturers the new-generation Fit hatchback. There are plans to soon produce a Fit-based compact crossover that will go on sale next month in Japan and eventually in America.
The general welding station at the typical Honda plant, where body panels are joined, has 16 robots welding 94 points. In contrast, the new Yorii plant has just 10 robots welding 126 points.
In addition, glass attachment, interior panel installation, seat mounting and door fitting are among processes which are automated at the new plant.
The new plant’s efficiency is illustrated by the fact that assembly costs have been cut by 30 per cent compared with Honda’s nearby Sayama plant.
Japan's domestic auto market is shrinking and it is likely that the Yorii factory will be the last greenfield car factory in Japan for some time. In addition, the project was delayed twice before final completion.
However, Honda President Takanobu Ito resurrected the project and sees it as an opportunity to advance new manufacturing technologies.
"For Honda to progress," Ito said, "we must advance the technology of manufacturing, not just the technology of our products."