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Did you know that Toyota manufactures vehicles in Canada? Currently Toyota builds the Corolla, Matrix, Rav4 in Canada. Here is an article from that recently toured the Cambridge facility written by Jarrett Henshaw.
Recently, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Canada (TMMC) celebrated assembling their 4 millionth vehicle in Canada. AutoNorth had the opportunity to tour the TMMC faculty in Cambridge, Ontario, where the popular Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix and Lexus RX350 are assembled.
Before you start the tour you are free to walk around the visitor center prior to watching a short video presentation. The visitor center features models of current production vehicles, as well as the first Corolla produced at TMMC.
The TMMC Cambridge facility opened in 1988, and has since expanded twice. The current footprint of the plant is 280,000 square feet and employs over 4,000 workers.
Vehicle assembly starts at the stamping department. Steel blanks are cut and washed before giant stamping presses form various body parts. To make quick work of the stamping, TMMC is home to the largest stamping press in the world. Dies can be quickly changed depending on vehicle production. Currently the stamping department operates three shifts to keep up with vehicle demand.
The vehicle really starts to take shape in the body shop. Robots are mainly used in this department to save workers from back-breaking work. Team members are used to verify the quality of the welds in the body shop. Over 240 quality procedures are performed in the body shop alone. At any time team members can verify measurements by checking the 'monster mold'. The monster mold is sent from Japan and has all the correct measurements of the vehicles in production at TMMC. After the vehicle body has been assembled, a robot nicknamed 'Godzilla' picks up the vehicle shell and places it on an upper conveyor line to enter the paint department. There are six other 'Godzilla' robots located throughout TMMC performing similar tasks.
Unfortunately, we were restricted from the paint department, which is the longest part of the assembly. On average, vehicle shells spend just over 11 hours in the paint department. The vehicle shells are subjected to a series of washes, dips, and coats before the final paint coat is applied.
After the paint department the vehicle shell enters final assembly. Final assembly is where the shell is transformed into a fully functioning vehicle. When vehicles arrive at final assembly the doors are removed to improve access inside the cabin and protect the doors from getting damaged when parts are being installed. Parts delivery to the assembly line is assisted by Automatic Guided Vehicles, or AGVs. If a problem occurs along the entire assembly line, team members are empowered to pull an andon cord. The andon cord stops the assembly line, displays a message on the andon board as well as plays a song to notify production managers of a quality issue.
Once the vehicle is fully assembled more quality checks are performed on the finished product. This ensures vehicles will meet Toyota standards. Tests include an alignment check, performance dyno measurement, and a high pressure water test. A shipping quality audit is done on 5 random vehicles throughout the day. This is a lengthy inspection process that takes 90 minutes and inspects the vehicle's look, feel, and smell.
When the plant is operating at full capacity, a Toyota Corolla or Matrix rolls off the assembly plant approximately every 57 seconds. The Lexus RX 350 rolls off line at TMMC every 3 minutes.