A Visit to Toyota’s Museum and Factory
For visiting the museum and the factory of Toyota, we have to make reservation in their website and should select the date, language of guidance needed and other details.
On the day of visit allotted to us, we have to reach there at sharp 10 am. It takes 10 minutes to walk from the 'Mikawa Toyota' station to the Toyota headquarters. We have to meet our guide once we reach there and should select the medium of guidance required there. We may select either English or Japanese based on which the guide will provide our one day pass for the factory visit and the brochure of the plant tour.
The trip starts at 10.30 am and by that time, we could visit the Kaikan museum near to the headquarters of Toyota plant. In this museum, they showcases the latest car models as well as the distinct and unique works that may dominate the streets in the future.
When we made our visit, there was a robot displayed at the entrance itself. It is the Toyota Partner Robot. Developed in 2004 for the 2005 Expo, the Toyota Partner Robots are humanoid robots that can walk and play the trumpet and performs with admirable skill. Toyota Partner Robots were actually developed with the intension of working with the elder generation, by assisting them in household works and taking care of them. But currently, the technology is limited to them walking and playing various musical instruments.
We could see various types of cars manufactured at the Toyota factory being displayed there. An ultra light weight concept car, the latest Toyota and Lexus models, a hydrogen fuel cell, hybrid technology etc. with explanation and videos are also provided. Many environmental friendly models of Toyota that are getting common in the streets of Japan and the i-unit, a personal vehicle which will become popular in the near future could also be seen. A small structure of the assembling unit of Toyota is also reproduced in this museum.
At 10.30am, the people gathered there will be carried to the Motomachi factory started in two groups based on the selected language of guidance. The guide explained about the buildings seen at Toyota city while passing them. Also she gave a brief explanation about the history of the Toyota Company and the manufacturing process inside the factory to where we are going. The history of the largest car manufacturers of Japan as well the world itself is really encouraging and amazing. The company started before some 58 years ago which had now grown into 51 branches worldwide. The manufacturing process in the factory includes mainly 4 different steps and it is described in the brochure given from there. Stamping section is the place where steel sheets are cut and stamped to form the vehicle’s body parts, the Welding section where robots are used to weld about 400 body parts to form the car, the Painting section where the washed car body is painted by applying the undercoat, intermediate and the topcoats and the Assembly section where engines, wheels and other parts are installed. The last section is the only place inside the factory where all the works are done by people.
The tour includes a visit to the Welding and the Assembly units of Motomachi plant. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the welding unit of Motomachi plant. There, the guide gave us an introduction about the models being manufactured there and the procedures included. A number of different robots could be seen in this place where the welding the various car parts, of multiple models is being carried out. The amazing part of the visit is these robot workers who were working in a systematic and orderly fashion to manufacture a number of cars in an hour. Each robot is welding four or five parts of the moving car which is then moved to the next robot for its turn. This process is going on without any delay or interruption. A world of robots - its really interesting and couldn’t believe our eyes that these much number of cars are getting ready in an hour in this single plant itself.
Only 30 minutes is allowed in this section to watch the welding process and we were guided to the assembly unit. Another 8 minutes of travel by bus is needed to reach there. Before getting inside, our guide again gave an overall concept about the processes being done at this unit. There are different subunits inside. We moved forward through the platform raised for the visitors above the working plant. It was really more unbelievable sight there than that we have seen at the former place. At the first area, the workers were sorting and arranging the car parts and other accessories, so that they can be carried to their respective assembling section easily. There are small vehicles inside the unit to transport these sorted things to their respective sites.
Next area is where a number of cars were assembled with their doors, windows etc. Workers were standing on both sides of a moving bar above which the cars are slowly moving forward. Along with the movement of the cars, every worker has to finish his part of assembling process without any delay. The way these people work is really amazing and unbelievable. Everyone is doing their part of job in the correct time slot. Then we reached that section were the engines, batteries and similar accessories are assembled. After that, it is the section of assembling the window glasses and door glasses, lights and other things. There is arrangement inside the unit to give alert to the supervisors if any fault is detected during this process, so that they can pull a chain hanged aside and stop the moving bar and hence the vehicles. The engineers will check and solve the issue quickly to resume the assembling process as soon as possible. Eventhough issues are occurring very often, it is not at all causing much time delay for the entire operation. At the last area, hundreds of cars completely manufactured were moving to their testing unit where the entire vehicle is checked thoroughly. After watching all these procedures, we were guided back to the buses and from there to the initial place- the headquarters of Toyota.
It was really an amazing and knowledge worthy visit to the factory. The various manufacturing procedures associated with the cars that we are seeing and using everyday should be seen and understood. The number of cars coming out of a plant everyday and the increasing number of vehicles on our street couldn’t be even imagined.
For the Toyota plant visit registration, check this link for more details.