Hirata is a well-known and respected provider of production equipment and engineering services to manufacturers in the automotive industry. Known for providing custom production systems for customers, Hirata manages projects so the end result optimizes quality, cost and delivery.
To support custom production systems, Hirata’s engineers are knowledgeable in every phase of manufacturing and deliver complete and integrated manufacturing capabilities – from design to assembly, testing and implementation. Relying on the latest manufacturing advances to improve systems, Hirata uses its large assembly commissioning spaces and clean rooms to simulate large-scale production systems and create flexible processes that help its end users address changing market demands in different regions.
Hirata’s end-users are accustomed to exceptional engineering capabilities that result in high-quality, productive systems.
To meet these expectations, Hirata uses a unique design methodology, the Assembly Cell System (ACS). ACS is an assembly line system that creates reliable production systems more quickly, at a lower cost and with better performance than traditional systems. ACS has highly standardized modules, and by analyzing the operation and function of each unit, machine and component, can accelerate production start-up.
The custom electric vehicle battery production machines Hirata develops for customers must be smaller than traditional machines – as much as 30% smaller than the usual machine footprint required by this scale of production. To achieve the tight delivery and reduce the foot print, Hirata wanted to use a single vendor for the entire solution – a partner capable of providing local support to speed commissioning.
Because the electric vehicle market is emerging, companies are competing to implement mass production as quickly as possible. Usually, Hirata will design, manufacture and then test a machine – in that order. However, this project had extremely tight deadlines, so Hirata segmented the machine functions, organizing the teams to work in parallel. Hirata also used additional resources from a Rockwell Automation system integrator.
Since this was an industry first machine with extremely tight deadlines, the team needed to plan and manage challenges in real-time, debugging the total system at the overseas end-user’s location.
Hirata selected Rockwell Automation partly because of the company’s ability to offer global support. Hirata’s in-house production engineering capabilities and ability to deal with new category, “Monodukuri” (manufacturing) capability, created the industry’s first mass production line for electric vehicle batteries.