Sysmex Corporation (HQ: Kobe, Japan; President: Hisashi Ietsugu) received the Hyogo Governor's Award for its instrument production initiatives in the Third Hyogo Grand Prizes for Monodzukuri Technology*, sponsored by The Hyogo Industrial Association.
Through this award-earned in "manufacturing and production processes," one of three evaluation categories-the association recognizes Sysmex's initiatives in the area of digital manufacturing, which enables new workers to become proficient faster than was previously possible.
Sysmex manufactures all its diagnostic instruments at the Kakogawa Factory, located in the city of Kakogawa, Hyogo Prefecture. Approx. 70% of the associates employed at the factory for instrument production have no specialized skills, and assembly is performed by part-time workers. The factory uses the cell production method, in which one worker handles the assembly of an entire instrument. This method provides flexibility in meeting diverse customer needs as it enables high-mix, low-volume manufacturing and responds expeditiously to demand fluctuations.
In recent years, Sysmex has increased the number of countries to which it exports its products and has expanded its production levels to meet growing demand in emerging markets. Meanwhile, quality has become a point of even greater focus than ever before as we seek to bolster productivity at the same time as we add new, highly sophisticated instruments to the product mix, and we recognize that achieving further advances in production efficiency is essential to our ability to manage costs and remain successful in the face of global competition. Under these circumstances, we are maximizing our use of IT through advancements in digital manufacturing, which shortens the amount of time needed to train part-time workers to perform sophisticated operations. As a result, digital manufacturing helps us simultaneously to address the joint objectives of high quality and cost competitiveness.
Our digital manufacturing operation comprises three systems: the 3D move manual, which uses video and other types of 3D imaging to illustrate assembly processes; e-assist, which automatically controls the production support system to adjust and test the instruments themselves; and Quick21, an overarching production support system.
The 3D move manual uses color video with easy-to-understand frames showing where and how to attach components. The manual allows drawings to be rotated, depicting complex assemblies from various perspectives, simplifying the assembly process for people who may not have the training typically required to comprehend specialized drawings. Audio guidance provides instruction on particularly important processes to increase alertness and prevent mistakes.
E-assist performs delicate product adjustments automatically by using a network to link assembled products with the Quick21 production support system. This means that workers can perform adjustment and testing process smoothly, even if they lack specialized expertise, and reduces the overall number of processes.
The introduction of this system helps new workers to gain proficiency more quickly, and has raised production efficiency substantially. Also, whereas in the past once development was complete we had to create paper-based production manuals illustrating assembly procedures, creation of a 3D move manual can commence at the development stage. This accelerates the configuration of production systems for new products and makes the process paperless.
Going forward, we plan to take full advantage of our strengths in R&D, manufacturing and our global network to bolster our global competitiveness and provide high-value-added products throughout the world.
*Hyogo Grand Prizes for Monodzukuri Technology
The Hyogo Industrial Association awards these prizes on a biennial basis to entities judged to contribute to Japanese industry and overall society by sustaining and developing the spirit of monodzukuri (Japanese for a "craftsmanshiplike approach to manufacturing"). The awards are one aspect of Hyogo Prefecture's efforts to enhance the level of manufacturing technology within the prefecture and encourage a spirit of monodzukuri. Prizes are awarded to outstanding individuals or groups in three categories: manufacturing and production processes, product and technology development, and application of traditional technologies. Prizewinners are nominated for the following year's Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award, which is presented by the prime minister of Japan.