Toyota is looking to cool its energy usage during the heat of summer. The company's installing eight new gas-powered generators to help reduce demand from the energy grid in and around Toyota City by five percent, as the Japanese automaker looks to comply with the Japanese government's energy-reduction mandate for the summer months.
The generators will allow Toyota to get almost a third of its required power internally. Toyota has already cut its peak-power usage by about 40 percent from 1996 levels with a combination of more efficient energy sourcing and production techniques. Toyota early last year opened its first Japanese factory in almost two decades and designed it to reduce energy use while speeding up production. For instance, the cars on the factory line are positioned parallel to each other instead of nose to tail so that employees can work on both the front and back of the cars at the same time. The new Miyagi factory cuts assembly-line time by 35 percent.
The generators are part of a broader efforts by Japan's manufacturers to reduce energy demand from the grid this summer. Earlier this week, the Japanese publication the Asahi Shimbun reported that all but one of Japan's nuclear reactors have been shut down, with the government requiring that power in various areas of the country be cut by between five percent and 15 percent from 2010 levels until Sept. 7.
Utilities are planning for rolling blackouts in order to manage supply and prevent unexpected blackouts, according to the publication. Companies like Panasonic are moving holidays into the summer to cut power use, while Kyushu Railway Co. will reduce its number of routes, according to the paper.
8 New Generators, 'Toyota Total Demand Management' to Boost Self-sufficiency
Toyota City, Japan, Jul 03, 2012 (JCN Newswire via COMTEX) -- Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) plans to save more energy this summer by installing eight additional cogeneration gas power generators and the new Toyota Total Demand Management (TTDM) system for further enhancing electricity supply-and-demand efficiency at all TMC plants. These measures will enable TMC to meet the demand for businesses in areas serviced by Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. to reduce electricity use by five percent(1).
To strengthen its operations by firmly establishing an energy-saving production structure, TMC has long been striving to enhance efficient use of energy at its production plants by coordinating the use of energy in all production processes with on-site power generation and other sources of electricity supply. Its efforts to save electricity resulted in a 35-percent reduction in the purchase of peak power from power companies and a 45-percent reduction in total annual purchases of electricity in the fiscal year ended March 30, 2011, compared to the fiscal year ended March 30, 1996. In the current fiscal year, TMC plans to achieve reductions(2), respectively, of 40 percent and 53 percent.
Details of TMC's unified energy use-and-supply management efforts are as follows:
1) Development and implementation of energy-saving production technologies
While establishing a production structure that is highly adaptive to changes in demand, TMC is furthering development and implementation of advanced, energy-saving production technologies. Examples include simplification and slimming down of stamping processes through the introduction of high-efficiency servo presses and high-speed robots and making assembly and painting processes more compact, as part of an overall "Simple, Slim, Compact" initiative that has led to reduced electricity use.
2) Introduction of highly efficient on-site power generators
TMC has been introducing on-site electric-power cogeneration generators at its plants since the 1970s. With the installation of eight new, state-of-the-art high-efficiency cogeneration gas power generators this year, TMC's on-site power generators (including diesel generators and other kinds) will enable its plants to be approximately 30-percent self-sufficient in electricity. Control rooms at all main plants enable unified management of efficient power use and supply.
3) Advancement of energy visualization
To facilitate awareness of electricity use, TMC started introducing the Toyota Energy Management (TEM) system in 1995. The highly accessible system - now in operation at all TMC's plants - uses measurements based on approximately 30,000 pieces of data to allow visual management of daily energy use by each process within a plant. This helps identify instances of overburden, waste or instability in energy supply, allowing independent adjustments on a daily basis.
As an evolution of TEM, TMC has developed and is starting to introduce this month the Toyota Total Demand Management (TTDM) consolidated visual management system, which enables unified management of overall power demand and supply at all plants. TTDM, which shows the real-time status of electricity use by each plant and on-site power generation, helps achieve targets set for curbing use of peak power and saving electricity.
4) Daily improvement and just-in-time energy supply
Centered on six rules for saving energy, various improvement activities are carried out on a daily basis regarding the production processes at each TMC plant and the electricity required to operate the machines and other equipment. The activities help reduce the volume of electricity used and enable just-in-time energy supply. The six rules are:
1) Stop using - Switch to mechanical devices and other production equipment that uses as little motive power as possible
2) Turn off - Discontinue energy supply and turn off equipment when either are not being used for the effective purposes of production
3) Fix - Quickly repair malfunctioning equipment that can cause energy waste
4) Reduce - Adjust energy supply quality and amount to only that needed for each process
5) Gather - Collect energy that is usually discarded, mostly heat, and use it efficiently
To further promote reductions in electricity use, TMC intends to broaden its energy-management activities to include implementation at production bases outside Japan.
TMC also intends to actively pursue new energy-management systems that center on individual plants. These include the first implementation of the F-Grid Concept(3) project started last autumn aimed at realizing a "smart community", with the Second North Sendai Central Industrial Area playing a central role, and the Smart Factory initiative now underway at Kitakyushu Plant of Toyoda Gosei, Co., Ltd.
(1) Compared to purchases of peak power in summer 2010; scheduled to be revised to four percent after restart of Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.'s Ohi Power Station Unit
(2) Compared to the fiscal year ending March 30, 1996
(3) "F" stands for factory
Supported by people around the world, Toyota Motor Corporation TM -0.88% , has endeavored since its establishment in 1937 to serve society by creating better products. As of the end of March 2011, Toyota conducts its business worldwide with 50 overseas manufacturing companies in 26 countries and regions. Toyota's vehicles are sold in more than 170 countries and regions. Toyota's vehicles are sold in more than 170 countries and regions. For more information, please visit www.toyota-global.com .