Date Visited: 13 December 1995
JTEC/WTEC Attendees: J. Beaman (report author), R. Brown
Hino Motors is part of the Toyota group. It develops, manufactures, and markets diesel trucks and buses. In Japan, Hino has been the market leader in medium- and heavy-duty diesel trucks for 22 years. Hino also produces, on commission for Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota's Hilux and T100 pickup trucks for export. Hino presently has three factories, which are located in Hino, Hamura, and Nitta, with approximately 8,000 employees. The main plant at Hino has approximately 4,000 employees.
Hino Motors purchased an SLA 500 from 3D Systems in 1992. This system is used in engine research and development. Hino also has an SLA 250, which is used in the design department. Prototypes in engine research and development are used to check interference and also for short-run functional tests on the intake side of the engine. Prototypes in design development are used for checking design geometry for items such as an instrument panel air vent. As an example of time compression, Hino representatives indicated that a wood model air vent made by hand would take approximately 2 weeks to obtain, while an SLA model can be obtained in 4 hours.
One technology that Hino managers believe is critical for successful implementation of rapid prototyping is 3D CAD. They are presently using ProEngineer in their laboratory, but they are in the process of migrating to SDRC IDEAS. They believe that the learning time for IDEAS is shorter than for Pro Engineer and that this system will shorten the time it takes to produce SLA parts. They also believe that 3D CAD will be in widespread use within Hino in the next 2-3 years. Checking design interference is one of the main functions of rapid prototyping at Hino, but it is hoped that 3D solid models will fill this function.
Hino researchers are very interested in metal parts and will try QuickCast as soon as their machine is upgraded to run QuickCast parts. They would also like to use rapid prototyping patterns for sand castings, but they have some concern about inaccuracies of large parts due to warpage.
There are several issues in the process that Hino management would like to see improved: