Section 4. Plant Construction and Expansion
Item 1. Monthly Production Increased to 50,000 Units-Motomachi Plant Expanded and Kamigo Plant Constructed
As previously discussed, after monthly production reached 10,000 units in December 1959, a second phase of construction expanded the body production line at the Motomachi Plant and a new stamping plant was constructed. Later, an aluminum casting plant, the No. 1 Machining Plant, a die plant, the No. 2 Assembly Line, a plating plant, and other facilities were added, and operations began by the autumn of 1962. In conjunction with this expansion of facilities, monthly production increased to 20,000 units in October 1961, and reached a hoped-for 30,000 units in October 1963. The Motomachi Plant No. 2 Machining Plant was completed at the end of that year, followed by an expansion of the stamping plant. In addition, a small-part machining plant was installed in January 1964 to mass produce parts requiring high precision, such as piston pins.
In order to raise its international competitiveness in response to the liberalization of passenger-car imports discussed above (implemented in 1965) and the liberalization of automotive capital (implemented in 1975), Toyota continued to expand its plants with the aim of building mass production systems and achieving monthly production of 50,000 units. At that time, a major shift in the thinking about how Toyota's production plants should be began to emerge. That thinking centered on the idea that plants should be economical and specialized, while being functional, efficient, and highly flexible and capable of raising quality and productivity while reducing costs.1 A move was afoot to have plants specialize according to function, with center plants focusing on vehicle assembly, while others focused on engines, powertrain components, suspension components, and so on, including on course materials, such as cast and forged parts, to respond efficiently to the diversification of vehicles and their specifications.
The forging shop at the Honsha Plant increased its forging presses and upset forging machines starting in about 1962 and moved forward with automation. As a result, continuous automated forging of connecting rods from rough forging to burr removal using forging presses became possible. Automation of upset forging2 also advanced, allowing for the automation of processes from heating to upset forging in the making of axle components such as drive pinions. Despite this automation, however, the Honsha Plant Forging Plant was approaching the limits of increasing production capacity.
As a result, Toyota decided in September 1963 to construct a new forging plant (the Chita Forging Plant) at a site near the Chita Plant of Aichi Steel Works, Ltd. and outsource operation of the new plant to Aichi Steel. Construction began in December of that year, and operations commenced in July 1964. Today, Aichi Steel's forging business (the plant facilities and structures were transferred to Aichi Steel) is Toyota's largest source of forged parts.
With the aim of achieving monthly production of 50,000 units, Toyota adopted a basic policy of dedicating the Honsha Plant to truck production and the Motomachi Plant to passenger car production. In order to increase production capacities in accordance with this policy, Toyota decided to construct the Kamigo Plant as a dedicated engine production facility. In June 1964, the Kamigo Plant Construction Committee chaired by Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. Director Hideo Tsutsumi adopted the following construction policies:
- 1.Facility planning policy: Increase equipment to reduce personnel by half.
- 2.Production products: Engines and transmissions.
- 3.Production scale: Initially, 10,000 units of M engines monthly, with the possibility of increasing monthly production to 100,000 units including transmissions.
Construction of the plant began in October that year, the first engine was produced in September 1965, and a completion ceremony was conducted in November.3 The plant was Japan's first dedicated engine plant, capable of performing integrated engine production from casting to machining and assembly.
Low-frequency induction furnaces4 were added to the casting line melting equipment for iron and aluminum, and the shell-mold method was introduced throughout the molding process from core to main-mold manufacture. In addition, innovative equipment including an improved conveyor system and a series of sand processing facilities were installed to create a cutting-edge plant.
Transfer machines were installed over a wide range of machining processes, and automated conveyors linked the individual transfer machines. Also, automated transfer equipment was installed on general-purpose and special-purpose machines and individual machines were linked by automated conveyors to establish continuity of all machining processes on a level not previously seen.
With Toyota’s mass production system organized as explained in Part 1, other suppliers apart from parts manufacturers also moved to form cooperative associations similar to the Kyohokai. In April 1962, the Seihokai-an association of companies manufacturing molds, jigs, gauges and other equipment-was established, and the Eihokai-an association of companies in areas including construction, plants and equipment as well as electric equipment-was formed in November 1962. Later, in 1983, the Seihokai and Eihokai combined to form a new Eihokai.