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Okuma rebuilds Konan Plant for one-stop production of automation systems

May 22, 2024

Okuma has begun the redevelopment of its Konan Plant in Konan City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The aging plant building will be rebuilt, and an “Engineering Center” that handles all aspects of manufacturing automation systems and an “Innovation Center” where future smart factories can be created together with customers will be newly opened. On March 26, a press conference was held to reveal to the media the outline of the redevelopment plan for the Konan Plant. 

Total construction budget: 14 billion JPY 

Image of Okuma's new Innovation Center at the Konan Plant

Image of Okuma’s new Innovation Center at the Konan Plant

Okuma’s new Engineering Center at the Konan Plant will be responsible for manufacturing automation systems that combine various types of automation equipment, such as robots and loaders, with machine tools. 

Previously, both machine tools and automation systems were assembled at Okuma’s Headquarters Plant in Oguchi, Aichi Prefecture, and the Kani Plant in Kani, Gifu Prefecture, but in the future, all manufacturing and assembly processes for automation systems will be integrated at the Engineering Center. Dr. Atsushi Ieki, President of Okuma is enthusiastic: “We want to make the Engineering Center a core base for reinforcing our engineering capabilities in automation and other areas”. 

The company will also establish an Innovation Center at the Konan Plant as a base for co-creation with customers and partner companies. The center will leverage digital twin technology to reproduce the smart factory of the future in a virtual space and provide a place to develop solutions for realizing such a factory together with its customers. Dr. Ieki explains, “The Engineering Center focuses on the real world, while the Innovation Center is a hub that focuses on the digital twin and the virtual space”. 

The Engineering Center will have a total floor area of 14,400 square meters, while the Innovation Center will have a floor area of 4,500 square meters. The total construction cost is estimated at 14 billion yen, and both will be completed in December next year. 

800-unit increase in annual production 

Automation system that is easy for operators to handle (Photo: smarTwinCELL)

Automation system that is easy for operators to handle (Photo: smarTwinCELL)

Okuma is committed to “contributing to society through the power of ‘manufacturing services'” and proposing solutions to societal issues such as a shrinking workforce, digitalization, and decarbonization. 

As part of these efforts, the company is striving to develop and expand sales of automation systems that can be easily operated by machining operators and others. In fiscal 2022, automation systems accounted for 33.2% of the total installed base, and the company aims to increase this ratio to 45% by fiscal 2025. 

However, since automated systems require a large amount of floor space and time for operational checks, there have been issues with prolonged lead times for delivery. 

In this context, the company decided to partially rebuild the aging Konan Plant and establish a new Engineering Center. By manufacturing machine tools at the Headquarters Plant and the Kani Plant, while manufacturing automation systems at the Engineering Center, it will also be able to expand the space available for machine tool assembly. Through this series of plant reorganizations, Okuma will achieve an increase in annual production of 800 units. 

By: Atsushi Kuwasaki
Staff Editor, SEISANZAI Japan


Related Topics

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