Section 7. Modernization of Facilities
Item 5. Introduction of Transfer Machines
As the Production Facility Modernization Five-Year Plan was implemented, it became possible to obtain and use cemented carbide tools (cutting tools) in a stable manner. This substantially increased the pace of machine tool processing and greatly raised efficiency.
In parallel with these improvements to the performance of tools and machinery, machine tool arrangements were also modified and transfer machines were introduced with the aim of supporting automation. Transfer machines are arranged in the order of processing of specialized automated machines to link the specialized machines by automatically transporting work pieces.
To conduct research on automation, Toyota Machine Works and Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. received an industrialization testing subsidy (a subsidy for creating machine tool prototypes) of 8 million yen from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry on August 5, 1954 and began conducting joint production of automobile engine transfer machines. The first domestically produced transformation was completed in March 1956, and a machine identified as TR1 (transfer machine No. 1) began operating at the Koromo Plant in June.
The machine was used for lifter hole boring on six-cylinder F engine cylinder blocks. The machine exhibited outstanding performance, including the ability to continuously process lifter holes and various types of screw holes at eight stations, making substantial contributions to increased production and streamlining.
Later, the installation and improvement of transfer machines proceeded steadily and the Toyota Production System concepts were applied to work piece transport control between transfer machines. For example, in order to prevent waste arising from excess production, full work control that stops processing of a prior process when the number of work pieces waiting for processing by a subsequent process reaches a certain number. In the same way, pull-over control that stops supply from a prior process when the number of work pieces on a stock conveyor reaches a certain level was also developed.