🗣 The Japanese auto giant is using XR solutions to boost productivity and meet net zero emissions by 2050, after announcing they will invest over $1.2 billion USD (130 billion JPY) over the next seven years to push its Intelligent Factory Initiative.
The Initiative aims to boost vehicle production efficiency, reduce pollution, and increase usage of key emerging technologies such as extended reality (XR), artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things, 360-degree surveillance, and others. The company is also set to upgrade factories at its Oppama and Kyushu plants in Japan along with its Smyrna and Canton facilities in the US over the same time.
Nissan will deploy mixed reality (MR) headsets at its Tochigi plant to train production workers and plans to install further automation solutions to manufacture electric vehicles such as the Ariya crossover. Also, they will include new automation systems for producing electric and traditional powertrains to improve assembly accuracy when needed and additional sensors will detect production issues and 267 360-degree stereoscopic cameras will monitor processes to boost equipment recovery time by 30 percent.
Nissan Intelligent Factory
🗣 Since its foundation, Nissan has honed its ability to manufacture vehicles through high-quality and highly efficient production processes and the superb skills of the company’s Takumi (master technicians). However, the business environment surrounding manufacturing is undergoing major changes. In Japan, there is a need to break away from conventional labor-intensive manufacturing to cope with an aging society and serious labor shortage. Unforeseen situations, such as climate change and pandemics, also need to be managed. At the same time, industry trends in electrification, vehicle intelligence, and connected technologies are making vehicle structure and functionality more advanced and complex.
Nissan introduced the Nissan Intelligent Factory initiative at its Tochigi Plant to respond to these needs and trends. Nissan Intelligent Factory enables Nissan to:
👉 Use robots that have inherited the skills of Takumi to manufacture next-generation vehicles of the highest quality
👉 Create an improved environment where a wide range of people can work comfortably
👉 Realize a zero-emission production system, thereby accelerating efforts to achieve a decarbonized society
Tochigi Plant is scheduled to start production of the all-new Nissan Ariya crossover electric vehicle this fiscal year.
XR Training and the Environment, Employees
🗣 The news comes as the Initiative aims to improve working conditions for “a wide range of people” at its factories. XR technologies have become progressively integrated into global firms to train workforces over the last few years, namely as such solutions have boosted deployment across the world, reduced emissions by cutting travel expenses for training and conferencing, and significantly increased learner retention rates.
Companies such as Moth+Flame, Darley WS, Motive.io, Taqtile, Seabery, and Virti have discussed with XR Today the benefits of deploying immersive learning solutions for clients, which included reduced combustibles for firefighting and first responder training, leading to reduced emissions, and costs savings of up to 10 times compared with traditional training methods.
Nissan’s developments come just days after Bank of America, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, became the first company in its industry to deploy VR training solutions across its 4,300 branches to train employees on client relationship building, empathy, and other key skills.
Achieving carbon neutrality
🗣 Nissan aims to achieve carbon neutrality across its operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050. The company aims to realize carbon neutrality in manufacturing by promoting innovations to support higher productivity in vehicle assembly, starting with the Nissan Intelligent Factory initiative, and by improving energy and materials efficiencies at plants. Plant equipment is to be fully electrified by 2050 by introducing innovative production technologies and by reducing energy use. To achieve carbon neutrality at production plants, all electricity used will be generated from renewable energy sources and or generated with onsite fuel cells that use alternative fuels.
“By rolling out the Nissan Intelligent Factory initiative globally, starting at the Tochigi Plant, we will more flexibly, efficiently, and effectively manufacture next-generation vehicles for a decarbonized society. We will also continue to drive innovation in manufacturing to enrich people’s lives and to support Nissan’s future growth,” said Sakamoto.
The company has spent 33 billion JPY over the past two years to install advanced equipment at its plant based in the Tochigi Perfecture as part of the Initiative. According to Nissan, their initiative aims to increase the number of robots “that have inherited the skills of Takumi “at manufacturing plants for next-generation vehicles.
Sakamoto concluded by saying: “The automotive industry is in a period of great change, and solving the global challenge of climate change is urgent. We see this as an opportunity to build the strength of monozukuri (manufacturing), a part of our DNA, to develop and apply innovative technologies to overcome the challenges we face.”
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