Toyota plant tour and museum visit..

We booked for the Toyota plant tour through their website about 10 days before going there. We were informed to reach there at 10 am. From ‘Mikawa Toyota’ station, it takes about 15 minutes by foot to reach the Toyota headquarters building.

Once we reached there, we met our guide. She asked us to select the medium of guidance needed – either English or Japanese. We selected the first one and our guide gave us a one day pass for the factory visit. The trip will start at 10.30am and we were asked to visit the small museum there. The Toyota Partner Robot was displayed at the entrance itself.

 

Toyota partner robot
Developed in 2004 for the 2005 Expo, the Toyota Partner Robots can walk and play the trumpet like humans. They were developed to work with the elderly, assisting in household chores and watching over them. But for now, the technology is limited to them walking and playing musical instruments.
As we walked inside we could see various new car models of Toyota. An ultra light-weight concept car, some eco-friendly models,  and an i – unit which will become popular in the coming future were some of the important exhibits there. Latest Toyota and Lexus models were also displayed there. A replica of the car manufacturing process is also displayed in this hall.
At 10.30am , we started our journey to Motomachi factory. There were two groups – the Japanese guided tour group was in another bus. The guide explained the peculiarities of the buildings seen along both sides of the roads of Toyota city. Then, she explained about the history of Toyota. The history of one of the biggest car manufacturing companies which had grown into 51 branches worldwide in its 55 years of growth is really interesting and motivating. A brief idea of the manufacturing process inside the factory that we are going to visit was also given. The manufacturing process includes mainly 4 steps(Taken from their brochure).

1. Stamping – Steel sheets are cut and stamped to form the body parts.
2. Welding – Robots weld about 400 body parts to form the car.
3. Painting – Washed car body is painted by applying the undercoat, intermediate and the topcoats.
4. Assembly – This is the only place where all the works are done by people. Here engines, wheels, and other parts are installed.
We first visited the Welding and the Assembly units of Motomachi plant. After that, it took 10 minutes by bus 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. Once we entered there, I got really surprised seeing a number of robots welding various car parts, of multiple models. Each robot is welding four or five parts and the car is moved to the next robot. The process is continuing without any delay. A world of robots – it was really amazing. I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing the work done by the robots and the number of cars moving at every minute.

We got only 30 minutes to watch the welding process and we were moved to the assembly unit. We traveled another 8 minutes to reach there. There also, our guide gave us the overall concept of the work being done at that unit. There are different subunits inside. We moved forward through the platform raised  for the visitors above the working area. The sight over there was unbelievable. At the first place, we saw the workers sorting and arranging the car parts and other accessories, so that they can be carried to their respective assembling places easily. There were small vehicles inside the unit inorder to transport these things to their respective sites. Then we reached the place where cars are assembled with their doors, windows etc. where workers are placed in lines on both sides of a moving bar over which cars are moving forward slowly. Along with the movement of the car, every worker has to finish his part of assembling process without any delay. And the workers were doing their job speedily.

The way these people work cannot be imagined by people like me. Its really amazing. Doing things in such a speedy manner is impossible without much practise. Every one is doing their part of job in the correct time alloted to them.Then we reached that section were the engines, batteries and similar accessories are assembled. After that was 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 found during the manufacturing process, so that they can pull a chain hanged aside and stop the movement of the bar and hence the vehicles. And the engineers will check and solve the issue quickly to resume the assembling porcess without delay. It happened many times as we walked through this unit at various places. And this sort of issues are not at all causing any time delay for the entire operation. At the end, we could see hundreds of cars that are manufactured there moving to their testing unit where they manually check the entire vehicle.

Toyota headquarters

The bus returned us to the place where we started our journey – at the headquarters of Toyota.