KAWASAKI, Japan – Nissan Motor announced in February that it was licensing its patents and know-how for a nuts-and-bolts delivery system, "Automatic Parts Feeder Technology", to Japanese firm MICE in Kawasaki, an industrial city near Yokohama.
The Automatic Parts Feeder Technology supplies factory workers the required number of parts automatically, according to the vehicle model being produced.
The Mayor of Kawasaki, Norihiro Fukuda, said MICE's product was developed on a Nissan patent.
Workers at Nissan factories are required to pick the needed number of bolts or nuts from boxes containing many parts, a task that causes difficulties even for the most seasoned worker. The Feeder is improving work efficiency and quality by preventing mistakes in the number of parts.
Hideo Sasaki of Nissan's Monozukuri Planning Group says manufacturing is a nuts and bolts world. "In factories, nearly everything is about screwing together nuts and bolts, and I've been dealing with nuts and bolts for decades at Nissan," he said.
"It's always been difficult to find the right parts dispenser, although there are many products in the market, so we thought, 'If it's not sold, let's make it,' and that was when we started development."
MICE intends to commercialize the "Feeder" using a license that enables resale to other companies engaged in manufacturing.
Nissan hopes to continue to contribute to the development of more abundant local communities through technical support to healthy small- and mid-sized companies rooted in those communities.
Kazuyoshi Ito, Director General of Kawasaki's Economic and Labor Affairs Bureau, says the city has many highly-skilled large and small factories. "The city of Kawasaki is supporting these companies by introducing them to large companies and their patents," Ito said.
"We hope that it will lead to new products, new technologies and even newer industries."
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