High safety specification.
As one of four global manufacturing centres for this product Toyota South Africa had an important role to play, together with the other participants, in engineering the vehicle not just for local requirements, but to a global expectation. A further consideration was the initial local content expectation of 70% for this high volume export model.
South African requirements in the specification included a provision for sliding rear window glass, a large fuel tank capacity, anti-chip paint, spare wheel lock, transponder security system, and heavy duty rear axle.
All of these requirements had to be engineered in at the design stage of this vehicle and before the issue of final production drawings under the SE or Simultaneous Engineering policy adopted for this vehicle.
A "One Part One Drawing" philosophy was implemented meaning that the same part will be produced off the same drawing in any of the four IMV manufacturing plants around the world.
The design and development of this exciting new product was conducted at individual component level simultaneously with TMC engineers with all four production countries involved in the process. This resulted in optimised engineering and cost efficiencies.
The South African produced models include some 1 600 locally manufactured components.
In each instance the material, process, special local requirements, and any field problems encountered, particular to any local component were studied and communicated through to the design team in Japan.
In addition to meeting the engineering challenge innovative ways to reduce cost without compromising quality had to be derived.
This new design carried with it a quality directive that required a dramatic increase in overall quality. This required that the design quality aspects had to be built into the drawings to ensure that excellent quality standards can be maintained in the various regional manufacturing centres.
The design quality process examines areas such as durability, process controls, ease of manufacture, ease of fitting on the production line and component cost.
Throughout the project component suppliers were invited to participate in the production preparation process to exchange ideas and stay fully in tune with the project development.
An investment of R2.4 billion in new production facilities and tooling for in-house and local suppliers is indicative of the scope of this new project for Toyota South Africa.
Part of this investment was applied to an upgrade of Toyota South Africa?s engineering drawing capability which provided TSA engineers with full access to CAD data sent from TMC in Japan.
To enable local engineers to fully participate in the SE programme and to view the multitude of drawings and do any manipulations and checks that might be required, eight new Togo CAD stations were installed.
These are used mainly for data communication between TMC and local suppliers. In addition two Catia V5 stations were added.
In the early design and pre-production engineering stages the vision for the IMV platform was to have the vehicle perform equally as well on paved and unpaved roads, to be affordable - an element that dictated a stringent cost-down approach to manufacturing - and at the same time to provide unmatched satisfaction in terms of comfort, styling, handling, safety, and fuel economy.
To this was added a need to be environmentally friendly.
Integral to the global engineering process was an intensive test programme conducted by Toyota South Africa?s product engineering division.
This process began some three years before the start up of production, the longest engineering lead time ever for a locally manufactured Toyota. Tests were conducted in the most arduous of conditions from freezing ice and snow conditions to boiling heat and at the highest altitudes in South Africa.
This engineering programme complemented programmes carried out at TMC?s extensive facilities in Japan as well as in Thailand and in the Australian Outback.
The vehicle evaluation department at Toyota South Africa was fully involved with this joint evaluation process with particular reference to expectations in terms of overall vehicle performance, ride and handling, NVH characteristics of the package, fuel economy, and cooling performance.
In support of the global engineering process Toyota South Africa conducted a 100 000 km general durability cycle on a prototype unit in South Africa.
This was followed by two 20 000 km rough road durability cycles to prove the package in severe usage conditions. The Toyota South Africa evaluation team also participated in 12 suspension evaluations in Japan, Thailand, Australia, and at home in South Africa.
Once local off-tool components became available a full evaluation of individual components and vehicles fitted with these components was initiated.
An important element of this process is an OTS (Off Tool Sample) rebuild of two vehicles to validate the fitment of the components to the vehicle as well as the performance of the component.
This is a critical phase to identify any problems before production trials began.
A R3.4-million investment has been made in new and upgraded test equipment for resin component testing and engine performance testing.
Included were the installation of environmental chambers with electromagnetic vibration tables and 3D measuring equipment.
This has provided the ability to fully test plastic components such as the dash panel, bumpers, door panels, and PVC mats amongst others.
An engine dynamometer upgrade has brought Toyota South Africa into line with international standards to perform the stringent tests required to guarantee performance, fuel economy and emissions on the petrol and diesel engines that are assembled locally as part of the IMV programme.
With the new Hilux signed off for production the local evaluation programme continues with a further two 20 000 km rough road durability cycles (each one equivalent to around 100 000 km of normal use) scheduled to be completed on production samples.
This will stand behind the "Beyond Tough" image of the new Hilux.