Toyota, the top-selling automaker globally, is looking to close the gap with companies like Tesla in the electric vehicle (EV) market. To achieve this, Toyota is relying on its new EV technology and its famous lean production methods, which have been used for years to improve manufacturing efficiency.
The company recently showcased its EV technology advancements during a plant tour in Japan. One example of Toyota’s ingenuity is a technique to create high-gloss bumpers without the need for paint. The mold used for these bumpers is hand-polished to a mirror finish, resulting in a lustrous appearance.
Toyota has also automated its production processes using robotics and 3D modeling. Older equipment that was once used only during the day can now be operated at night and on weekends. These improvements have tripled equipment productivity, according to Toyota.
Chief Product Officer Kazuaki Shingo emphasized that Toyota’s strength lies in its ability to adapt to changing times. The company’s EV technology and engineering expertise are anchored in the Toyota Production System (TPS), which is renowned for its efficiency and continuous improvement principles.
Toyota revolutionized modern manufacturing with its lean production system, which has been adopted globally. However, in the EV market, Toyota has been overshadowed by Tesla. Under new CEO Koji Sato, the company has announced plans to ramp up EV production and address the criticism of being slow to embrace fully electric technology.
Toyota is focusing on innovative manufacturing methods, such as self-propelled production lines that guide EVs through the assembly process using sensors. This eliminates the need for conveyor equipment and offers greater flexibility in production.
Additionally, Toyota showcased its gig casting technology, which allows for the production of larger aluminum parts. Similar to Tesla, Toyota’s EV production will be modularized, reducing the number of parts required. However, Toyota has also developed quick-replace molds for die-casting, reducing mold change time to just 20 minutes and increasing productivity by 20%.
By combining new EV technology with its well-established manufacturing methods, Toyota aims to boost its EV sales and compete more effectively in the global market.
– Toyota’s approach to EV technology and manufacturing innovation
– Toyota’s lean production methods and the Toyota Production System