chapter  11
14 Pages

Using SMED on a Farm Machinery Processing Line

Kubota, Ltd. (Sakai Plant)
WithShigeo Shingo

The Sakai plant is Kubota, Ltd.’s principal facility for the manufacture of farm machinery, one of the mainstays of the company. The plant produces a wide variety of equipment, including small and large tractors, large combines, and large and small diesel and air-cooled engines. With limited growth potential and intensifying competition in the domestic market, the firm has been strengthening its expanded export orientation. To compete overseas, low production costs and a broad product line are needed. In addition, domestic demand is shifting from an emphasis on machinery for rice cultivation toward nonrice agricultural machinery, spurring the current move to low-volume production of a variety of machine types. On a line for processing cases for small tractors, aluminum die-cast raw material was finished by milling, boring, piercing, tapping, and washing. Commercial multiple-axis drill presses and tapping machines were used for the piercing and tapping processes, and although various off-line machines were used as well, long setups were a common problem.