Aisin AW is working to design production processes with the goal of achieving innovative manufacturing.
We are exploring the possibilities for techniques, equipment, production systems, and quality through a "three-in-one" organization consisting of design and development, manufacturing technology, and production divisions. Through this approach we seek to apply the results of the research and development of innovative technologies to improving the environment.
The Monozukuri Center provides a place for the pursuit of activities that move beyond divisional boundaries and conventional thinking. The facility is increasing the speed of innovation in manufacturing by grouping teams of professionals to address and explore various manufacturing research themes.
Innovative Manufacturing Framework
This section details Aisin AW’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and packaging material use in product distribution.
Initiatives to Reduce CO2 Emissions
We, Production System & Logistics Planning Department, consider our mission to be environmental conservation, and we strive through our operations to achieve environmentally friendly distribution.
A typical example of these efforts during FY2014 was consolidation of truck shipments between plants. This initiative went beyond simply consolidating shipments into two routes and included development of the ability to accommodate fluctuations in shipment volume with a high degree of flexibility by using a varying number of mounts designed to accept different loads in response to shipment volume. This approach was then further combined with the introduction of high-capacity vehicles with low bed height in order to dramatically improve loading efficiency. As a result, we were able to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 28 tons (see Note 1) thanks to the reduction in the number of shipments and total driving distance.
Going forward, we will continue to pursue the goal of environmentally friendly distribution, both by applying existing initiatives horizontally across our operations and by embracing the challenge of pioneering new improvements.
Note 1: Equivalent to the amount of CO2 emitted by 120 round-trip runs between Tokyo and Osaka in company-operated trucks.
Operation of two routes on a part-specific basis
Improved transport efficiency through route consolidation
Initiatives to reduce packaging material use
Although we began actively using plastic returnable shipping containers, which are environmentally friendly since they can be reused, to ship automatic transmission parts to overseas plants from the perspective of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle), we encountered numerous issues with repeated reuse of the containers with electronic parts due to contamination of the parts with oil and other foreign materials, leading to defects. As a result, we had been using disposable corrugated cardboard cartons for electronic parts.
By developing a refresher process to increase the cleanliness of returnable shipping containers and repeatedly evaluating its reliability, we were able to switch to the use of returnable shipping containers for electronic parts as well during FY2014. As a result, we were able to reduce our use of packaging materials by 57.2 tons. We also worked closely with the VIT Division to develop loading proposals that would allow container contents to be introduced directly into assembly processes, thereby minimizing manual handling of parts on assembly lines.
Corrugated cardboard cartons
Returnable shipping containers
What is Remanufacturing?
In a word, it's the automatic transmission recycling business. Aisin AW provides recycled automatic transmissions at an inexpensive price point for use in repair and replacement of models already in service. The company is contributing to global environmental conservation through its remanufacturing program, reducing waste products and effectively using resources.
Three facilities-AWQUIS JAPAN (Aichi Prefecture), AW Transmission Engineering U.S.A., Inc. (North America), and the AW Europe Service Center (Europe) recover automatic transmissions from the market and disassemble and repair them, guaranteeing proper functionality.
Aisin AW's Commitment to Energy Efficiency
Our basic approach to energy consumption is focused on improving environmental performance, achieving greater cost effectiveness, and ensuring a stable energy supply. These three concepts add up to a balanced use of energy. Collectively we call this the "BEST MIX" of energy use. We also believe that it is important to precisely target energy delivery to reflect the locations, times, and quantities that characterize demand.
Aisin AW sees the prevention of global warming as consisting of the suppression of CO2 emissions by promoting energy conservation initiatives. The Energy Subcommittee lies at the center of the company's efforts in this regard, which reflect the internal slogan, "Protecting the global environment is a job for everyone." Aisin AW has come together to focus on energy conservation.
Reducing Waste Products and Encouraging Zero Emissions
The Waste and Recycling Subcommittee is responsible for setting waste reduction targets and determining the overall direction of related activities. As of 2005, we had achieved the first three waste reduction steps—reducing waste product processing by outside companies, eliminating landfilled waste, and reducing incinerated waste. Fluctuations in production volume have made it challenging to achieve the fourth step of reducing total waste product volume, but we have nonetheless achieved annual targets for the subsequent five years. We began the fifth step of reducing waste product volume per unit of production in 2011, and we will work to recycle waste plastic this year in an effort to achieve the associated targets.
Waste Reductions Activities
Reducing total emissions (waste products)
We have been working to reduce total emissions (the fifth step) since fiscal 2011. Future reduction targets will take into account expected production volumes, and future activities will include reducing use of water-soluble oils and fats as well as waste plastic volumes from the standpoint of the 3Rs.