Previous chapters have discussed the casting industry in Japan in terms of the numerous processes employed to make the end product -- a casting -- and the various alloys used both presently and under development for future application. New products and materials being brought to market plus research activity have been covered.
This chapter assesses the state of manufacturing in Japan: how the Japanese use the foundry processes, the specialized equipment, the alloys, the human resources, and the collective knowledge of the R&D people to fulfill the casting needs of the customer.
The chapter concentrates on the advancements being made on the factory floor. What is being demonstrated today and what is likely to happen in the future? What have been and will be the inducements and constraints to advancement of the manufacturing art? And of course, how does it relate to current conditions and rate of change in the United States?
Most importantly, how can the U.S. foundry industry benefit from a better understanding of Japan's situation and progress?
This topic is covered by first describing the business climate and how it affects manufacturing progress, followed by a discussion of Japanese process control philosophy. Automation and the reasons for it are explored next. Human resources, their recruitment and training and influence on manufacturing success are also discussed. The chapter concludes with an assessment the future prospects for advancements. The current state of manufacturing in the United States is the frame of reference throughout the chapter.