In 2012, Toyota Motor introduced its new development framework, the Toyota New Global Architecture. (Earlier post.) Designed to balance product advances with cost reductions, TNGA supports the grouping of the development of new vehicles to promote strategic sharing of parts and powertrain components. One goal is the reduction of resources required for development by 20% or more.
Toyota recently provided an update and an outlook on its progress with TNGA, focusing on new vehicle development (powertrain components and vehicle platforms) as well as production systems.
Sudden and drastic changes in the business environment mean that conventional ways of thinking and doing business can no longer help us grow sustainably. We are at a crossroads where we must now build a new business model. I want 2015 to be a year in which we take steady and bold steps toward sustainable growth. We can do this by launching new models that incorporate TNGA, and making good use of this intentional pause to strengthen our competitiveness. Based on the new management structure we announced this month, it is important that we improve our true competitiveness, including strengthening our human resources. We aim to be a company that grows sustainably―a tree with a strong trunk.—Toyota President Akio Toyoda
|New platform under TNGA. Click to enlarge.|
Development. Powertrain component development needs to be coordinated with that of vehicle platforms, which form the basic structure of all vehicles. To enhance driving performance and fuel efficiency while also giving vehicles more attractive styling and improved handling, Toyota is focusing on joint development of powertrains and platforms together to create a lower center of gravity, on making components lighter and more compact, and on applying unified design through modularization.
By improving thermal efficiency in engines and energy-relay efficiency in transmissions, Toyota has increased the overall fuel efficiency of its powertrains by approximately 25% and overall power output by more than 15%.
By rethinking drive unit layout and making electric motors, inverters and batteries smaller, Toyota expects to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its hybrid vehicle systems by more than 15%.
Toyota will begin introducing its new powertrain units this year, and will continue to develop innovative new hybrid systems, transmissions and engines.
Toyota has developed new vehicle platforms through improvements to its vehicle underbodies and suspensions. Additionally, repositioning and lowering the center of gravity of powertrain components has contributed to achieving attractive, low-stance designs, responsive handling, a high-quality drive feel, and collision performance that offers safety.
By rethinking body structure, Toyota plans to first increase overall body rigidity by as much as 30-65%, and then further improve rigidity by joining body components using laser screw welding technology.
Toyota will begin rolling out its new platforms with the launch of a midsize front-wheel-drive vehicle this year, followed by specific new platforms for front-wheel-drive compact and large vehicles, as well as for rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Toyota expects approximately half of its vehicles sold worldwide in 2020 to feature the new platforms.
Production systems. Deciding to take a pause to strengthen its competitiveness, Toyota froze new production plant projects and has been working to achieve full use of existing plants and facilities, and to reduce the amount of capital investment required at plants when new vehicle models are launched. Toyota is also working to make plants more competitive by greatly reducing required levels of initial investment and further strengthening environmental performance and safety.
Since 2013, Toyota has been increasing the versatility of its production lines, linking production of same-model vehicles across multiple plants and steadily increasing operational availability to make thorough use of even the smallest capacity surpluses at each plant.
Toyota has increased its total global load factor (line utilization rate) to more than 90% from approximately 70% in 2009.
This year, Toyota is aiming to reduce the amount of capital investment required to prepare a production line for a new model by approximately 50% compared to 2008 levels. This work also covers the production of new engines, transmissions and related components.
Although rolling out new TNGA platforms and powertrain components will temporarily require increased production line investment, investment requirements are still expected to result in lower investment levels than those required in 2008.
TNGA’s strategic sharing of parts and components allows multiple platforms and powertrain components to be added to a line for mixed production, enabling Toyota to respond flexibly to changes in demand and achieve reductions in overall production line investment.
|Toyota gains ISO 50001 certification for energy management|
|Toyota became the first automaker in Japan to acquire the international energy management system certification ISO 50001, which requires the introduction of comprehensive companywide measures to use energy more efficiently.|
|As a part of its efforts to achieve zero emissions across the entire company, even at plants and production technology R&D facilities, Toyota has supplemented its existing energy management measures by introducing and employing systems based on ISO 50001.|
|ISO 50001 provides a framework for organizations to integrate energy management into overall efforts to improve quality and environmental management. Like the ISO 14001 energy management standard, the ISO 50001 standard was adopted with the aim of continuously improving energy performance through the creation and operation of energy management systems centered on the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle.|
Toyota is combining the results of its work to increase plant competitiveness with the mindset and technologies accumulated by making ever-better cars in the field of production engineering.
Toyota is now approaching the point at which it can expect to reduce initial plant investment by approximately 40% compared to 2008 levels.
The main contributors include measures to achieve “simple and slim” production lines, such as downsizing painting-booth facilities and switching to compact equipment that can be installed on top of plant floors. By contrast, current plants often require large equipment that needs to be suspended from ceilings or fixed into the plant floor. This reduction in required investment frees up resources.
By improving plant energy management, Toyota expects to reduce plant CO2 output by up to 55%.
Production engineering initiatives, with new technologies already finding their way onto a number of mass-production vehicle models, include revolutionizing forming technologies to allow the production of highly stylish components and developing more-advanced welding technologies for greater body rigidity.