The N360 Prepares to Launch

Organizational transitions leading to the establishment of Honda Engineering.

<< 1. Becoming a World-class Manufacturer
<< 2. Manufacturing Machinery: A Factory Comes to Life
<< 3. Sayama Factory Starts Up: Establishing a System for Car Production
<< 4. The N360 Prepares to Launch
<< 5. The Challenge: New Technologies in Body Production
<< 6. New Model Production: Project Teams in Transition
<< 7. Honda Manufacturing Machinery: A Separate Entity
<< 8. BE:Establishing the Production Preparation System
<< 9. Honda Engineering:Toward the New Era
<< 10. Ensuring Honda'sProduction Competitiveness

Concurrent with the expansion of functions at Sayama, the N Special Planning Office, located inside the factory’s auto plant, was stepping up its operations. Established in April 1966 for the purpose of overseeing production planning for the launch of Honda’s N360 model, the SPO was busy working to ensure the integrity of production engineering along with its administrative duties concerning product quality, quantity and cost.

Personnel at the First Manufacturing Machinery Plant thus entered into collaboration with the N Special Planning Office in order to develop a group of welding machines for subassemblies, along with a machine for main assemblies—the aptly named “Battleship.” Upon completion, the machines were transported to the Sayama Auto Plant. Having learned from the initial production of bodies, in which the motorcycle production facilities were involved without much warning in order to meet customer demand, Honda had now designed its new welding machi-nes according to the single-piece forming technique, using large panels for improved accuracy and productivity. Thus, these machines were the basis for subsequent welding machines Honda would develop for use in automobile production. In fact, the entire process was subject to constant change. In order to deal with model changes and demands for higher productivity, processing times had to be reduced and flexibility enhanced on the line.

In November 1966, Sayama Factory implemented an organizational change to establish a system of mass production for the N360. It was hoped that this new system also would ensure a smooth launch for every new model Honda introduced.

According to the new organization, the auto plant was renamed the First Plant, while the First and Second Manufacturing Machinery plants became the Second and Third plants. The Third Plant, once it had absorbed the Special Planning Office, was also given the role of overseeing mass production for plastic working parts, since the latter had been relieved of duty following the completion and startup of stamping, plastic and casting plants. With the additional function, the Third Plant played a key role in the design and production of dies for large plastic parts to be used in new models starting with the Honda 1300, also known as the H1300.
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