Mechatronics is Japanese-English that combines “Mechanism” with “Electronics”. At Shinmei Industry, our training course has been named "Mechatroman training" (mechatronics specialist training) with the aim of enabling workers to handle both mechanical assembling and control adjustment. The two experts who are in charge of planning and management of the training, which is intended to improve the efficiency of assembly work and the in-house technical levels, talk about the background of the “Mechatroman training” and the future image of technicians at Shinmei Industry.
Powertrain Division Sales Engineering Department
Project General Manager／Matsumi Watanabe
Temporarily transferred from Toyota. He introduced the Toyota standard production equipment design and manufacturing methods to Shinmei Industry.
Powertrain Division Sales Engineering Department
Sub Manager／Kawai Yasuhiro
He serves as an administrator of the Mechatroman training, performing overall management, including training course planning.
Mechatroman training to break through the wall between mechanics and electronics
The mainstream of modern automobiles is HV, while environmentally friendly vehicles such as EV and FCV are also expected to grow in demand in the future. For production equipment to manufacture those automobiles, advanced electronic control technology is indispensable. Its importance, as well as the required technical level, have been increasing year by year. Even in such circumstances, mechanical engineers, who assemble machinery and equipment, have entrusted the handling and adjustment of electronic control to electrical engineers so far. Therefore, inefficiency occurred in the installation work of production equipment. In addition, acquiring the necessary production technology for the latest automobiles is an essential task for us. Under this background, we needed cross-trained engineers who can individually complete all work, including adjustment of electric control systems. That’s the "Mechatroman.” Therefore, we decided to tackle human resource development through training to have mechanical and electrical engineers learn each other's specialized fields to become a Mechatroman.
Aiming to create engineers who can respond to the evolution of automobiles
Unlike conventional conveyors and other transfer equipment, the production facilities designed to produce hybrid or other eco-friendly vehicles require a wide range of knowledge about electric control, so it becomes harder for mechanical engineers to understand the system without further study. In the future, demand for environmentally responsive vehicles will increase, with the production volume increasing rapidly from 20,000 to 50,000 units per month. In this case, we assume that automatization will become more and more important to production equipment. In other words, the area of using electric control systems will further widen. To cope with this, we need to accumulate technologies, knowledge and know-how to conduct safe and proper on-site installation and final adjustment of advanced production equipment that incorporates combined mechanical and electrical factors. To accelerate the evolution of engineers in response to the advancement of auto technology, the Mechatroman training is important and indispensable for Shinmei Industry.
Deepening the partnership with Toyota Motor
Also, deepening the partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation is an important factor for Mechatroman training. It is necessary for us to know the overall concept of production equipment required by Toyota Motor and what points are important on each specification. We have to thoroughly understand the Toyota standard. When Toyota Motor checks production equipment, they have hundreds of stipulated check items. By understanding the details of what those items indicate and the way of thinking behind them, we can manufacture the perfect equipment responding to the evolution of automobiles. The ideal production equipment that Shinmei aims for must match what Toyota Motor wants. In that process, we want to create engineers who perfectly understand the technologies required for the next generation.
Changing internal motivation through Mechatroman training
After introduction of Mechatroman training, what makes us happy the most is the change in the motivation of engineers. Initially, the training course was started with only four trainees. Engineers having different careers and specialized skills gathered from each department, and the training was started on a small scale. Then, the attitudes of the four trainees began to change day by day. As the training progressed, the degree of comprehension varied among individual trainees. To fill the gap among them, they started teaching each other their field of expertise, showing positive attitudes to learn from not only lecturers but also from each other. More than anything, I was very happy to see that every trainee's eyes lit up as they learned something new. Possibly because of the first group of trainees, a number of workers who wanted to participate in the next training, or superiors who wanted their subordinates to do so, rushed to us from various departments in our company. We foresee that those graduates of the training program will become lecturers to pass down the learned technology to the next generation. The training not only improves their technical levels, but also stimulates their desire for learning, which is the most important factor for engineers. That is the greatest outcome, we believe.
Mechatroman Training Program: Major subjects (excerpts)
|Safety||Principle of electric shock, influence on human body, and preventive measures in control panels|
|Maintenance||Objectives of equipment maintenance, and quality control of the production line|
|Toyota standard||Understanding of the Toyota standard (TMS)|
|Electric theory||Electric theory covering from direct current circuits to magnetic induction|
|Electronics||Theory and measurement of semiconductor parts, including transistors and diodes|
|Contact circuit||Basic control of facilities, such as sequence control|
|PLC||Outline of PLC, command language, programming method, etc.|
|Motor||Types and applications of various motors installed in production equipment|
|Measuring equipment||Basic outline of measurement principle, adjustment of servo loop gain, etc.|
|Sensor||Types and functions of sensors used in production equipment|
|Industrial robot||Outline of industrial robots, safety operations and robot teaching training|
|Control panel assembly||Classroom lecture|
|On-the-job training||Based on the classroom lectures, practical training is performed in workplaces for the manufacturing of actual production equipment. (The theme is determined through discussion with each workplace manager.)|