Section 4. Establishment of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd.
Item 1. Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Established
Preparations for entry into the automotive industry
When Kiichiro Toyoda established TALW, he already anticipated entering the automotive industry and had created plans for machine tool and casting facilities. According to a prospectus for the establishment of Toyota Motor Co. Ltd. prepared at the time of the company's foundation, "more advanced machine tools than necessary for the production of looms" were installed, and it was explained that the purpose was "to cultivate workers' skills... in preparation for entry into the automotive industry".1
Specifically, equipment such as high-precision, foreign-manufactured machine tools, special-order frame hole three-axis boring machines, planer four-axis drilling machines, frame cutting machines, and electric furnaces and foreign-manufactured molding machines for casting were installed. The numerous machines that could later be adopted for automobile production also included an assembly line using a chain conveyor belt for production of automatic looms.
With respect to casting materials, gray iron melted in a cupola is adequate for the components that make up a loom, and high precision cast iron made using an electric furnace was not needed. Shortly after the start of operations, however, TALW purchased a 1.5-ton electric furnace and began research on electric furnace casting. As a result, when production of high-draft ring spinning frame (discussed below) began, TALW was able to produce strong alloy cast-iron with appropriate distribution of the alloy components using electric arc furnaces and to manufacture cast components with accurate shapes and smooth surfaces.2