1.8-litre VVT-i unit for new Auris Hybrid
Toyota’s Deeside plant has achieved an industry first in building the 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine for the new Auris Hybrid: it is the first Toyota factory outside Japan to manufacture a hybrid vehicle engine.
The powerplant, which is integral to the Hybrid Synergy Drive system, is wholly produced at the North Wales facility. Raw aluminium is smelted and cast on-site, prior to machining, assembly and testing of the finished unit. The finished engines are then shipped to Toyota’s Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire for installation.
Toyota Manufacturing UK’s (TMUK) Deeside operation opened in 1992, principally to supply engines to Burnaston, which began production the same year. It currently has more than 500 people on site, working two shifts five days a week, building both the 1.8 engine for Auris Hybrid and Toyota’s 1.6-litre Valvematic petrol engine. In 2009 the Deeside plant produced 130,247 units.
Richard Kenworthy, TMUK General Manager Engine Manufacturing, said: “This is the first time that a Toyota hybrid engine has been made outside Japan and we take great pride in having that opportunity.”
Deeside has an enviable reputation for quality, not just within Toyota, but in global engine manufacturing. Its focus on achieving “zero defects” is being maintained through detailed training of employees and new quality assurance procedures at the plant. Preparations for production included employees travelling to Toyota’s Shimoyama factory – the “mother plant” for hybrid engines – and learning first hand from their Japanese colleagues about the specific requirements of hybrid engine manufacturing.
Kenworthy added: “We build in quality at every stage and a huge element in ensuring that happens is the skill and commitment of our members.
“The people working here all take great pride in the products they make, ensuring that every engine that goes out of the door achieves the highest level of quality.”
TMUK Deeside key facts
|Deeside Industrial Park, Flintshire, North Wales
|115 acres/0.48 million m2
|8 September 1992
|1.6 Valvematic and 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engines
|Total: 130,247 fully assembled engines