7 |Mass Production
The Gunma factory was established in 1959 as the Tokyo manufacturing site for Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. It is a core facility housing the Product Technology Development & Design Department, Quality Assurance Department and Production Department. The motto of the factory, "Monozukuri Way" consists of five keywords: ”Customer First“, "Quality is Lifeline”, “On-site, On-product” (meaning the best way of understanding a situation is to be where the action is)”, "Challenge to change" and “Making products involves training personnel.” All employees at the factory share this motto and are involved with daily production, keeping total quality in mind at all times. All personnel continue to refine their skills and undergo continuous training to address various challenges that could occur on any given day. The culture of our manufacturing facility is such that stakeholders look forward to improving product quality and overall productivity as members of small, agile quality driven teams.
Factory personnel take pride in nurturing the PHCbi brand.
The Gunma factory along with its traditional "handmade" process is also further advancing IoT possibilities. Every ultralow freezer we produce must pass a rigorous tests including the “compressor vacuum integrity”, “refrigerant charge amount” and "final temperature pulldown inspection". Status settings in the production processes are all digitallymeasured with data gathered by serial number and utilized for traceability in the case a quality issue should occur. We don’t just test a sample during a production run, every single freezer must meet quality standards. Outliers are addressed immediately and data is used to continually optimize quality. Robotic processes that automatically select and pick up components based on production data and are currently utilized to raise productivity. This process was brought on-line as of April 2019. Additionally, we are introducing a system that allows all factory personnel to conduct real-time checks via their computers focused on personnel engaged in a particular process, the hours expended spend and the production volume achieved. The new tracking process allows us to further define productivity and quality goals to catch issues in the early stages before they enter finished products.
The factory can be characterized as a hybrid, composed of handmade production and IT-utilizing process assembly lines.
During the "hand-made" stage such as capillary welding, there is a check of the workers’ physical and mental state of mind before commencing the day’s production. Testing the high skill requirement of the capillary welding process is performed by cutting the welded pipe vertically and verifying the welded section for integrity.
Workers on the roster for the day’s production must pass the test to meet the highest standards before starting production.
A capillary welding inspection process includes checking the physical appearance of the pipe in addition to leakage testing. Accumulated experience has shown that this step is essential for product quality control. Pipes that do not satisfy appearance quality are removed from the production line. Beyond daily compliance testing, "Monozukuri-Dojo" is an additional resource, meaning a “practice hall for manufacturing”. This facility’s purpose in the factory is to encourage retired and experienced workers to pass on the "handmade" processes and techniques. This dedicated area allows veteran workers to mentor and coach their accumulated knowhow to younger employees who will be supporting the factory in the years ahead. Topics covered