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Toyota begins production at efficient new engine plant in Indonesia

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (TMMIN), Toyota Motor Corporation’s vehicle production subsidiary in Indonesia, recently began production at its newly completed engine plant. Built with an investment of approximately 2.3 trillion rupiah (US$176 million), the Karawang Engine Plant, located in West Java, has the capacity to produce 216,000 engines per year and will take on approximately 400 new employees. The plant will produce 1.3 and 1.5 liter NR engines, some of which will be for export.

With the goal of achieving sustainable growth, Toyota is creating plants with a focus on competitiveness, which is a shift from the previous focus on high-volume production. Toyota aims to build plants that are safer and more environmentally-friendly, while also incorporating innovative production technologies. This corresponds to Toyota’s overarching goal of building simple, slim, and flexible plants around the world. As a result, Toyota’s new plant in Indonesia―while compact―is able to effectively handle fluctuations in demand and to house all aspects of the engine manufacturing process under one roof.

Previously, manufacturing processes had been divided and were conducted in separate locations due to space constraints. Processes downstream were also subject to the negative impacts of tar, dust, and heat generated in the casting process. However, by reducing equipment sizes and eliminating certain processes, Toyota has minimized the negative impacts on downstream processes, and thus enabled the inclusion of all steps of the manufacturing process in the same plant. This reduces initial investment costs of plants and machinery by 40% in comparison with a comparable investment if made in 2008. Furthermore, with the elimination of in-process inventory, a leaner system of engine production has also been created.

The following key production technologies are in place at the plant:

  • On-site smelting (first implementation at a Toyota plant outside of Japan). A large amount of molten alloy is required during the process of casting major components. Previously, the alloy was melted in a large smelting furnace away from the casting machine. The molten metal would then be brought to the casting machine.

    Modifications to the heat source and other changes have allowed for the furnace size to be reduced, enabling a shift to an on-site alloy smelting method in which the furnace is now directly connected to the casting machine. This system has previously been adopted in the casting process for small components but this is the first time it has been used in the casting of large components like engines at a Toyota plant outside of Japan.

    The result is a marked improvement in terms of safety, as the dangers associated with transporting molten metal have been eliminated. In addition, the space required for smelting and casting is significantly reduced by taking the transportation process out of the equation. Initial investment has also been reduced along with the reduction in the size of the smelting furnace. Furthermore, fluctuations in demand can be dealt with more responsively, as the amount of molten metal can now be more readily adjusted to meet demand.

  • Inorganic sand cores (first implementation at a Toyota plant outside of Japan). Cores are devices placed in casting molds to create internal cavities in the final cast component. Once molten metal is poured in and has hardened, the cores are broken. Cores with organic additives are traditionally used during casting, due to the need for a combination of ease of disintegration, strength, heat resistance, and molding properties.

    Using cores with organic additives causes tar particles and strong odors to be emitted during the combustion process. This, in turn, requires the use of large dust collectors and deodorizers to remove such by-products. However, a technique has now been developed that improves the shaping properties of cores through the use of inorganic matter additives instead of organic matter.

    The resulting reduction in the volume of tar particles emitted means that the size of dust collectors can also be reduced. In addition to saving space, this also results in a significant reduction of fire risks as well as necessary cleaning maintenance, thus improving overall safety standards.

    Furthermore, the reduction in odor generated also eliminates the need for deodorizers, which further reduces the space designated for casting and thus reduces the initial investment.

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