TMMC South: Toyota Cambridge Plant South
|Facilities||Cambridge - 3 million sq ft
Woodstock - 1.8 million sq ft
|Products||RX 350, RX 450h|
BLACK AND WHITE
A unique system of bright fluorescent lighting against black walls brings to light even the tiniest imperfection. Team Members examine every inch of a vehicle. Any blemish, no matter how minute, is fixed. And every imperfection is recorded, traced to its source, and appropriate measures are then put in place to ensure it can never occur again.
South is where we build the Lexus RX 350 and now the RX 450h featuring Lexus Hybrid Drive. TMMC holds the distinction of being the first plant outside of Japan to manufacture a Lexus. South is where we started out building Corolla when the plant first opened, and has been renovated was constructed specifically to build Lexus for this task. It is a world unto itself, brimming with state-of-the-art technology, staffed by specially trained Team Members, and where the pursuit of perfection is carried out with a passion found nowhere else on earth.
In May, 2000, history was made when Toyota announced that TMMC was chosen as the first plant outside of Japan to manufacture the Lexus luxury brand of vehicles—the RX 330 SUV. Today, TMMC Cambridge South builds the third generation of that model, the RX 350, the most popular in the Lexus lineup, supplying all of North America. And, we’re still making history. On March 26, 2014, TMMC Cambridge also began building the RX 450h.
FROM START TO FINISH
From start to final inspection, it takes approximately 24 hours of elapsed time to assemble a single Lexus RX 350. As each vehicle makes its way through the 1.3 million square feet that make up the South Plant, it will pass from the Body Shop to Paint and then Assembly—where approximately 2000 parts and sub-assemblies are precision-fitted. Along the way, each vehicle will also undergo numerous inspections by both machine and human eye and touch.
THROUGH THE EYES OF THE CUSTOMER
The keys to Lexus brand quality starts with the Lexus mindset: build each vehicle as if it were your own. Team Members themselves are trained to the highest standards in the industry and must be certified in a specific process before they can touch a vehicle on the line. Each process has been designed to ensure that every aspect of a Lexus looks, feels and even sounds like it belongs on a luxury automobile.
That’s the number of parts the 21 presses in the Press Shop stamp out each day. To make those parts requires over 100 metric tonnes of steel. The dies that perform the ‘cuts’ weigh from 2 to 29 metric tonnes. Those dies will go up and down 172,148 times each day as they produce 216 different parts. In a testament to TMMC’s environmental commitment, not one piece of metal scrap goes to scrap. It is all collected, recycled, and reused.
PAINTING A MASTERPIECE
The Paint Shop is where the luminous finish that is the hallmark of a Lexus vehicle is applied layer by layer—a process that takes more than ten hours. Specifically built for Lexus production, the Paint Shop is hermetically sealed to control dust and airborne particles. Team Members must pass through special ‘air showers’ before entering. All shell bodies are vacuumed by hand and undergo a series of intensive baths in preparation for the application of protective and paint layers that follow.
Team Members and robots complement each other at every stage of manufacturing. Robots apply sealant in hard-to-reach areas, while Team Members apply sealant in visible areas with a craftsmanship borne of rigorous training and weekly re-testing. Approximately 240 feet of sealer is applied to each vehicle, sealing and insulating the cabin from the outside environment—protecting against water leaks and creating a library-quiet interior.
WHEN IS A SHOWROOM NOT A SHOWROOM
When it’s in TMMC Cambridge South. Team Members walk through a replica of a Lexus Showroom on the way into the Plant—a reminder of the special nature of the vehicle they’re building. The final inspection line is also reminiscent of a Lexus dealership, complete with polished wooden floors. Inspectors audit 293 items and every vehicle is test driven on a Lexus-exclusive test track to ensure driving perfection before releasing it on its journey to its new owner.