Nissan unveils high-tech green factory for next-generation electric vehicles


Nissan Motor Co. plans to spend more than 130 billion yen ($ 1.2 billion) to implement new technologies that will make its global factories more efficient, less polluting and ready to produce next-generation cars such as cars. electric vehicles.

As part of its “Intelligent Factory Initiative”, Nissan has spent around 33 billion euros over the past two years to install state-of-the-art equipment at its factory in Tochigi Prefecture. The company now plans to bring the same initiative to major factories in Japan and the United States, Nissan executive vice president Hideyuki Sakamoto said in an interview on Friday.

Factories Nissan is looking to supply with new investment include its factories in Oppama and Kyushu in Japan and its factories in Canton and Smyrna in the United States. the Tochigi site, Sakamoto said, adding that new equipment will be introduced to the sites gradually over a period of around seven years.

Nissan unveiled its renovated smart factory in Tochigi on Friday. Technologies introduced to the site include production facilities for electric vehicles, efficiency-improving VR training systems and new automated parts of its production lines. Nissan will also electrify plant equipment and source electricity from renewables and fuel cells as part of its plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from factories by 41% by 2030 compared to at 2019 levels, Sakamoto said.

Nissan first announced in 2019 that it would begin installing advanced technology and equipment at its Tochigi plant. The 2.9 million square meter (717 acre) site produces approximately 250,000 vehicles per year, including several Infiniti-branded models. The Nissan Tochigi factory and its technologies are designed to serve as a model for global factories.

Nissan is expected to start production of its flagship electric vehicle Ariya in Tochigi during this fiscal year. The EV crossover is one of 12 new models that Nissan plans to release as part of its Nissan Next turnaround plan. Analysts pointed out that the model was key to the automaker’s future performance. Nissan presents the car as embodying its decades of experience in producing electric models.

Staff work at Nissan Motor Co. during a tour of the company’s Kaminokawa plant in Tochigi prefecture on Friday. | REUTERS

Since the Tochigi plant will produce electric cars, the lines had to be altered in several ways to produce both battery and gasoline models. This is noticeable in the section of the production line that mounts the powertrains – the assembly of every component that pushes a vehicle forward. Automated pallets are programmed to install electric and conventional powertrains for cars. The system measures the dimensions of the car and makes micro-adjustments to ensure that the assemblies are installed with an accuracy of a fraction of a millimeter.

There are also machines installed to produce parts specifically for the Ariya. For the first time in mass-produced cars, according to Nissan, the Ariya will replace magnets commonly used in rotors with tightly wound copper wire. This improves the efficiency of the engine component when traveling at high speed and helps reduce expensive and risky rare earth metals for supply.

To improve the efficiency of the Tochigi plant, mixed reality headsets are used to train workers to perform processes such as checking complex auto parts for scratches or deformations. When you use the headset to watch machines, instructions appear suspended in the air and arrows point to areas of the room that need to be checked. Workers can also survey and inspect a simulated car.

In another attempt to increase efficiency, Nissan installed human monitors in a control room on the second floor of a building on the site. They monitor 27 screens for any problem occurring on the production lines. Sensors scattered around the floors of the factory warn of any problem, and workers using camera headsets and tablets are dispatched to the site and given instructions from monitors on how to resolve a problem if it occurs. Nissan estimates that this system reduces equipment recovery time by 30%.

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About Mohammed B. Hale

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