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.

Becoming a World-class Manufacturer

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

1990 - 1999
  1. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
  2. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  3. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  4. 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
  5. Hosting Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991
  6. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
1980 - 1989
  1. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  2. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  3. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
  4. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  7. Formula One Entry / 1983Formula One Entry / 1983
  8. Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982
  9. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  10. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  11. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  12. City / 1981City / 1981
  13. The F200 The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
  14. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
1970 - 1979
  1. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  2. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  3. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  4. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  5. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  6. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
  7. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  8. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  9. Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973
  10. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  11. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  12. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
  13. Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970
1960 - 1969
  1. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  2. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  5. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  6. Formula One Entry / 1964Formula One Entry / 1964
  7. Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963
  8. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  9. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  10. Employing the Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
  11. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
1950 - 1959
  1. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959

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