Roland DG Corporation, a manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and 3D devices, announces it has begun construction to expand its manufacturing facility in Samutsakhon, Thailand.
The expansion is part of the “Transition into a lean organization” core initiative of the midterm business plan (FY2021 to FY2023).
Manufacturing at the Miyakoda factory in Hamamatsu, Japan, will be transferred to the factory in Thailand to help strengthen Roland DG’s cost competitiveness and will be operated as the center of volume production.
As Roland DG focuses on another core initiative, “Transformation of the business portfolio,” of its midterm plan, the Thai factory will also take the role of producing models developed for emerging countries where further growth is anticipated.
The Thai factory began operation in October 2012 as Roland DG’s first overseas factory. It uses Roland DG’s proprietary digital cell production system for assisting operations with digital technologies. Assemblers follow the steps shown in a 3D graphical manual displayed on a computer monitor to utilize the correct parts, fasteners, and electric screwdrivers as specified. The use of digital technology simplifies the memorization and concentration capabilities of human operators. Another key advantage is that an operating log data of each cell is stored on a server, allowing floor managers to monitor work progress and make improvements by analyzing data, which enables control of each cell and production of the entire factory.
The Thai factory has also established an independent manufacturing system focusing on local procurement of materials and parts. This marks the second time the factory expanded following construction work in 2014 due to growth in production volume.
The layout changes made after expansion are said to increase the total floor area of the factory from the current 74,000 square feet to 107,000 square feet and increase the current production area by approximately 40% to 77,000 square feet. Transferring production of inkjet printers, dental milling machines, and other high-volume products currently made at the Miyakoda factory will double the existing 16 models to 32, with wide-format inkjet printer production capacity increased by approximately 40% to 17,000 units per year.
Expansion work is planned to be completed by the end of November 2021, with full-scale operations of the entire factory, including the expanded area slated to begin in January 2022.
Beginning in 2022, the Miyakoda factory will assume the role of manufacturing prototypes, assisting with launching new products and developing advanced production technologies. While still retaining minimum manufacturing capability as part of BCP (Business Continuity Planning), the Miyakoda factory will integrate warehouse operations and offices.
Roland DG is also preparing to develop and market its cell production system as a digital solution for multi-item, small-lot production manufacturers.
The Miyakoda factory is further developing systems to digitalize entire factories, such as introducing robots and testing automated transport carts loaded with components required for assembly. With a growing need for greater productivity, efforts are also being made for ongoing reductions in unit costs, reaching shorter delivery lead times, and reducing the volume of in-process inventory.