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Our manufacturing companies have digital twins

Virtual replicas of Toyota factories help optimise production and decrease our CO2 footprint
We are creating virtual replicas of our European Manufacturing Companies (EMCs). This will help to analyse and accurately plan the implementation of possible changes, as well as reduce the environmental burden of our operations. 

Twinning is winning manufacturing efficiency

While the Digital Twin concept predates the COVID pandemic, lockdowns have hastened their introduction to our factories. Genchi Genbutsu (“go and see for yourself”) is one of Toyota Production System’s fundamentals for Production Engineering members. It is key in assuring high-quality products in a cost-effective and efficient manner throughout the design, optimisation and management of every process required in vehicle manufacturing. However, COVID travel restrictions severely challenged preparations for the Aygo-X and, to ensure business continuity, the Digital Twin development required acceleration.

A 360° window to EMC’s

To create an exact replica of our manufacturing operations, our Production Engineering members walk around scanning the plant area with a NavVis 360 mapping device, just like Google car does for Streetview. The captured layouts allow us to study and plan possible changes for real-world factories from our desks in multiple Toyota manufacturing facilities across Europe. These virtual replicas open a “digital door” to a wide range of possibilities, as they can be used to simulate and optimise the production workflows, reduce costs, and identify safety and ergonomic improvements to assembly processes.

Digitalisation for real-world optimisations

Our factories’ digital replicas allow to input tracking points. These can be used to easily locate where a part is installed, or where a particular piece of equipment is located.  Another example is how we were able to establish if a machine used in a factory in Japan would fit and function well in our Turkish plant. Using the twin technology prior to on-site visits to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (TMMT), we could optimise preparations, reduce factory visits, thus reducing our CO2 footprint, and supporting our commitment to carbon neutrality of our operations by 2040.

Mitigating potential risks

Digital Twins also offer great support to conduct “What-if” scenarios. We can simulate the impact of changes or improvements production systems may undergo, with no risk to safety or quality. Thanks to digital replicas our engineers can access a detailed 3D survey in which they can apply their modifications, avoiding unnecessary costs, work, and time for the development of new products. This helps to make informed decisions about the actual physical implementations.
“Embedded in the Production Engineering culture is the will to challenge and improve our processes. The introduction of Digital Twin technology enabled us to accelerate our shared understanding of each production site and the dynamics we need to consider from early design right through to final vehicle production. Instant access to the virtual environment has enhanced our ability to share data, brainstorm towards new innovations, predict technical challenges and so much more...”
Said Senior Manager, Kevin Anderson
“Our Digital Twin enables our global stakeholders to come together and make quick decisions based on the latest working environment , processes, equipment & line layouts. With our ever shortening lead times for projects, it’s a game changer.”
Said Vehicle Production Engineering Technician, Kevin Potter