(NTN) recently opened its Wakayama Works, a new manufacturing facility located in Hashimoto City, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. The facility will be one of the major ball bearing manufacturing plants in Japan, and will be dedicated to producing high-value-added products to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs), as well as increasing supply capacity to expand sales in the maintenance market.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on 12 October, Deputy Governor of Wakayama Prefecture, Hiroshi Shimo, and Mayor of Hashimoto, Tetsuro Hiiragi, led the attendance, which was attended by a number of local stakeholders. In his speech, Vice Governor Shimohiro said, “I hope that the relocation of staff (to the neighbourhood of Hashimoto City) and the investment of related companies will bring good economic results to the local area.” This was followed by a speech by NTN President Eiichi Ugai, who said, “This plant will serve as a model for NTN Group production sites around the world, contributing to the future of NTN and the local development of Wakayama Prefecture and Hashimoto City.”
(From second from left) Mayor Tetsuro Hiiragi of Hashimoto City, Vice Governor Shimohiro of Wakayama Prefecture, and President Eiichi Ugai, Executive Director of NTN.
Wakayama Works follows NTN’s Smart Factory concept and has been lovingly named “NTN STAR WORKS WAKAYAMA”. In the future, the plant will become a model of a Smart Factory, with production activities aimed at achieving “streamlining,” “automation and autonomy,” and “high responsiveness. Currently, the factory is working to improve productivity by, for example, improving the visualisation of inventory and various data, automating unmanned transport and handling between processes, and saving manpower by automatically generating production schedules using outbound data from the automated warehouse.
For environmental protection and energy saving, the factory actively promotes carbon reduction. In addition to the use of 100% carbon-free electricity, electric heat treatment technology is used in the production process. In addition, the factory has installed the “N³N Cube” and the “NTN Clean Energy Station,” which generate electricity from solar and wind power, thus making full use of renewable energy.
The official opening of NTN’s Wakayama Plant will enable NTN to more efficiently supply high-quality products to its global customers, including those in China. The plant will contribute to corporate growth by enhancing NTN’s brand awareness, while at the same time helping to protect the environment and promote local development.