A combined delegation from Australia and New Zealand recently visited Kobelco’s new Global Engineering Centre in Japan.
Comprising of 42 Australians and New Zealanders, including Kobelco dealers and customers, the delegation visited the state-of-the-art Itsukaichi facility that was opened in May 2012 and is now well on track to achieving its new aim of doubling the production level of Kobelco’s previous plant in the Japanese city of Gion.
According to Doug, one of the group members, the revised vision for the project was called the K30D Improvement Project, which had an initial target of 30% improvement in productivity, and now aims to achieve a further 30% improvement to enable the Itsukaichi facility to double the production of the Gion plant.
The delegation also included Graham Witt from Loadex Hire in Adelaide and Dane Pumpa, a partner in A.C.T. Civil. Graham observed that the Kobelco factory was very organised with an impressive flow of machines, and also reflected the pride of the workers and quality of product.
For Dane, the highlight of the trip was clearly the factory with the manufacturing staff and factory itself truly radiating a sense of quality and pride in the product they produced.
Significant changes at the facility focus on reduced movement of assemblies in the factory, with multiple processes taking place at a single station, and the move to painting components rather than just the finished product. Paint waste has been reduced from the typical 70% to just 30%.
The purpose of the GEC facility has also changed from the original intent to be just a factory to evolving into a centre for developing new products and technologies in Japan before transferring them to overseas production centres. This ensures that all products retain the ‘Made in Japan’ factor that stands for technical excellence in many key worldwide markets.
A comprehensive training centre completes the Itsukaichi facility and provides Japan-based training to key overseas personnel working in the manufacturing and service sectors.
The tour group also visited Kobe, Kyoto and Osaka before returning home.
Kobelco machines are available in Australia from Kobelco Construction Machinery Australia Pty Ltd .