Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. (TMUK) has two manufacturing plants in the UK employing over 3,200 people.
Representing a total investment in excess of £2.2 billion, the vehicle manufacturing plant is located at Burnaston in Derbyshire and the engine manufacturing plant at Deeside in North Wales.
The first car, a Carina E, drove off the Burnaston production line in 1992.
The Burnaston plant is the sole manufacturer of the Avensis model and the sole European manufacturer of the Auris and Auris Hybrid.
The plant comprises a single assembly shop – which produces both models – and within this facility a number of information technology solutions are deployed to collate and deliver a wide variety of production management data.
These IT solutions are used as the communication framework for a number of production programs and philosophies, which underpin Toyota’s impressive worldwide manufacturing efficiency reputation.
One such program is the company's Andon solution, which allows line operators to call for management help or temporarily stop the production line if they spot something that they perceive could have a detrimental effect on vehicle quality.
Originating from the word for a paper lantern, Andon – which in English translates to ‘sign’ or ‘signal’ – is a term that refers to an illuminated signal notifying others of a problem within the quality-control or production streams.
It is a means of highlighting a problem as it occurs in order to immediately countermeasure the issue and prevent re-occurrence.
It was the intention of TMUK to refresh its current Andon systems through a phased program of hardware and application replacement and modernisation.
The approach would reengineer the existing organically developed solutions to provide a suite of integrated applications that could be deployed on a range of display technologies to leverage the data collected from shop floor programmable controllers.
For this upgrade project, Toyota appraised a number of technologies from different vendors and approached Rockwell Automation to develop the new solution based on more up-to-date and open technologies.