Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974

Ensuring Competitiveness: A System of Development for Production Technologies

Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974

Becoming a World-class Manufacturer

In the 1950s, Honda was well on its way to becoming a leader in the world of motorcycle manufacturing. Honda’s Yamato Plant in Saitama, currently Saitama Factory’s Wako Plant, went into operation in May 1953. In July of that year, its was combined with Shirako Plant, and together they became Saitama Factory. Aoi Plant in Hamamatsu, now Hamamatsu Factory, began operating in 1954.

Photo

An overview of Sayama Factory soon after the start of operations.

Initially, in order to secure more effective machine processing at the plants, their respective Manufacturing Machinery divisions were intended to produce jigs and modify machines to meet the target specifications. These functions soon expanded, however. By 1956, when Honda expanded its lineup with the Dream and Benly models, the Manufacturing Machinery divisions were already developing original machines to process cylinder heads and crankcases. These were the so-called modular components of their day.

A joint project was established by Saitama Factory (currently Wako Plant) and Hamamatsu Factory in June 1956, in order that Honda might develop a high-precision machining table for use in the manufacture of multiple models. The team developed the Honda Universal Machine, or HUM. As opposed to conventional machining tables, which offered much less flexibility and could not be used to process modular components of different specifications, the HUM delivered multiple-specification processing capability with its replaceable processing units. Each of these comprised a multiple-axis blade section - also called a ganged head - and jigs, which could be changed in modular fashion. With that, Honda’s innovative new machine achieved a superior degree of accuracy, plus a remarkable setup time of just five minutes. Honda made a total of six HUMs, and these units amply demonstrated their capabilities in the production of the 1957 Dream C70 and 1958 Benly C90.

"There weren’t many manufacturers of general machine tools at that time who really understood Honda’s manufacturing philosophy," said Hiroshi Tanabe, who was then assistant manager of Hamamatsu Factory’s Production Engineering Section. "So, we often had a hard time negotiating prices and delivery schedules. Even so, Mr. Honda believed we couldn’t become a competitive manufacturer unless we had the ability to build our own processing machines."

Several changes had in fact been introduced during the pre-production planning for Honda’s new Dream C70 and Benly C90 motorcycles, resulting in significant differences in production format. In those days it was normal for each of the processes on the line to be broken down into a series of steps. This simplified the operations within the processes themselves, increasing the speed of the line and overall efficiency of mass production. However, that approach, for all of its merit, had certain disadvantages. Despite the simplification of processes, line length increased. Moreover, the factory could not achieve a quick, flexible response to model changes or reductions in production volume in the event demand should drop.

Honda’s solution was a machine for "one-chuck, multidirectional simultaneous processing" that could perform many steps at once. The purpose of this was to integrate steps and reduce the number of stations required to process a system of parts.

Eventually, that machine led to the dedicated four-direction horizontal turning machine developed for the Benly C90, and then to the dedicated five-direction drum-turning machine for mass production of Super Cub bikes.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

A System that Fosters Expertise
  1. A System that Fosters ExpertiseA System that Fosters Expertise
  2. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
  3. Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification  / 1960Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  1. A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the WorldA Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  2. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  3. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  4. Introducing N360 / 1967Introducing N360 / 1967
  5. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  6. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  7. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  8. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
Marketing Globally, Producing Lacally
  1. Marketing Globally, Producing LocallyMarketing Globally, Producing Locally
  2. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959
  3. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  4. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
A Refreshing New Development
  1. A Refreshing New DevelopmentA Refreshing New Development
Products Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  1. Products Emerging From Technology and InnovationProducts Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  2. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  7. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  8. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  9. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  10. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  11. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  12. Road Pal / 1976Road Pal / 1976
  13. City / 1981City / 1981
  14. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
  15. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  16. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  17. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  18. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  19. The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
Production Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufacturing
  1. Production Technology: The Essence of Creative ManufaturingProduction Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufaturing
  2. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  3. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  4. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  5. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
A Neverending Passion for Racing
  1. A Neverending Passion for RacingA Neverending Passion for Racing
  2. Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962
  3. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  4. Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964
  5. Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983
  6. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  7. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
Creativity - The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  1. Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  2. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  1. People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with NaturePeople and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  2. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  3. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  4. Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991

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