HATC resumes production with astounding speed in the aftermath of flooding in Thailand
The Honda Group’s largest production facility in Southeast Asia, Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (HATC)’s Ayutthaya Plant, boasts an annual production capacity of 240,000 automobiles. This facility was damaged during the unprecedented heavy flooding that occurred in October 2011. This disaster not only forced a stoppage of operations, it also completely cut off the facility’s ability to supply completed vehicles and components for export from Thailand, impacting markets in Japan and North America. Just as the factory reached full production of 1,000 vehicles per day in September, the company had no choice but to make significant renovations to the flooded equipment, virtually building a new facility. HATC resumed production at the end of March 2012, just six months after the disaster, and started the plant at full capacity in April 2012.
High-quality manufacturing achieved by using FDS and P&F conveyors
The Ayutthaya Plant was completed in April 1996 and its production capacity was expanded with the enhancements of production lines in 2003. In 2008, a second plant was built within the property and production capacity reached 1,000 vehicles per day. There are six models produced within the facilities: four models, the City, Civic, CR-V and Accord, which were built from when the facilities began operations; the Jazz (also called Fit), which was added in November 2003; and the compact car Brio, which was developed for the Asian market in March 2011.
The first and second plant both contain press, welding, painting, body assembly, and engine assembly lines as well as various transport systems, helping the factories achieve high-quality manufacturing. The assembly process includes the wiring (wire harness) and interior (instrument panel) lines, which use the Flexible Drive System (FDS) for transport; The exterior (seat, door, tire) line; and the chassis (engine, undercarriage) line, use the Power & Free Conveyor (P&F) system. The FDS is 264 m long and uses 52 wide-pallets that can fit both the vehicle body and worker for assembly operations. Since the system is very stable and runs with no vibrations, workers can work in quiet and smooth conditions.
VOC decreased by 50% and carbon dioxide decreased by 10%
The automobile industry in Thailand experienced flooding in 2011, but forecasts for 2012 had automobile production back up to 2 million for 2012, with 1.1 million automobiles to be sold in Thailand alone. The Ayutthaya Plant strengthened its operation bases, namely local production and procurement, through its enhanced production capabilities. The second plant in particular has become more environmentally friendly, currently featuring a complete water circulation system for zero industrial water emissions. The plant also reduced the conventional ratio of its volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from water-based paint by 50% and its carbon dioxide emission per vehicle by 10%. Honda plans on producing its first hybrid automobile in the Asian continent at the Ayutthaya Plant and will continue to contribute to the Asian economy.
A single operational team for many years to come
“We worked together with our business partners and suppliers to form a single team that enabled the restoration of operations with outstanding speed. As Daifuku's facilities are a key element of our production lines, we were very concerned about the progress of restoration. But, thanks to these efforts, we resumed production ahead of schedule. We wish to continue building on our partnership with Daifuku as a single operational team for many years to come.” says Nobuyuki Shibaike, Vice President.
< DAIFUKU NEWS No.202 (August 2012) >