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November : Latest generation Hino 500 trucks being built at new Koga factory

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1 November, 2017

Latest generation Hino 500 trucks being built at new Koga factory

Latest generation Hino 500 trucks being built at new Koga factory

 

The latest generation Hino 500 trucks are being built at Hino Motors' new Koga plant in Japan. It recently started volume production. A group of South African journalists was fortunate to be given a preview tour of this impressive new facility earlier in the year as the official opening only took place recently.

Hino's Koga plant has an initial capacity to produce 45 000 built-up units a year at a rate of about 100 a day working two 8-hour shifts. It is already operating at 90% of capacity.

This is a world-class, state-of-the-art truck manufacturing facility with a high proportion of robotisation - including 95% of the cab welding and 95% of the painting - to ensure the highest quality standards and production consistency. It includes more in-house manufacturing than previously to streamline and simplify assembly operations.

The factory operates on a modular system, using a single assembly line with the ability to provide the right products at the right time to meet market demand. Using 26 sub-assembly lines and one main assembly line the layout of the new plant enables Hino to increase productivity by 20%. Previously these three truck models were each built on a separate assembly line.

The Koga plant began production of knocked-down kits for assembly outside Japan in 2012, due to increased overseas demand. It started production of new generation trucks earlier this year. At the end of August production of older model Hino trucks was transferred from the Hino plant in Tokyo to Koga. Full production began in September.

Koga is now considered the "mother factory" for all Hino heavy-and medium duty trucks. It also serves Hino's various overseas operations and is the export base for Knocked Down (KD) and Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits for overseas assembly in 22 countries.

The new plant which is situated on an 850 000 m2 greenfield site and employs 2 000 people, is built using many environmentally-friendly features. These include using renewable energy, natural light, and LED bulbs to lower electricity usage, while workers benefit from efficient air conditioning which cools or warms the air only up to the height of the operators, thereby saving energy. CO2 emissions have been cut by 20% and water consumption is reduced by 65% compared to a similar plant without these latest environmental initiatives.

Many of the employees at Koga have relocated from the Hino plant alongside the company's head office in Tokyo where truck production is being phased out in view of pressures from being in what is now a residential area and the fact that there is no longer any space for further expansion.

Community involvement has been high on the list of Hino's priorities with the construction of the new plant in Koga City. Already the local population is being given training on traffic safety, with environmental education opportunities for children and Hino-initiated, twice-yearly environmental clean-ups of the surrounding area by local inhabitants.

Hiroshi Kokaji, Executive Vice President Production, says that having the Koga plant in full operation has enabled Hino to streamline overall production processes, including those at other Hino plants in Japan. Increased efficiencies at the Nitta plant, which makes components and the Hamura plant, which produces 300-Series light duty trucks, are contributing to Hino being able to further improve productivity in its Japanese manufacturing operations.

"We are very proud of the progress we have made on all fronts as we built the plant and then ramped up production," said Masahiro Aso, the Managing Director of the Koga Plant, in his address to the visiting journalists. "Not only do we now have an environmentally-friendly, modern plant producing top quality products, but we also have a motivated workforce and space for expansion in the future."

Source: Motorpress


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