Production of the all-new Infiniti Q60 sports coupe has started at the company's manufacturing facility in Tochigi, Japan.
The Tochigi plant has been producing Infiniti vehicles since the brand was launched in 1989. To meet the requirements of the new model, a series of upgrades have been made to the production line, and innovative manufacturing processes have been introduced.
Industry-leading advances in manufacturing enabled Infiniti designers to draw the sharp angles and body lines characteristic of the Q60. The stamping and assembly lines feature key improvements, notably through the adoption of a unique deep-body stamping technology and new tooling machinery for the model's unique resin trunk lid.
To further enhance quality control, a new lighting system for the inspection process and a camera and video system on the assembly line have been introduced. Manufacturing, design and engineering teams worked very closely together to ensure that the unique trunk lid feature for Q60 can be realised with the highest quality at the Tochigi plant. In a world's first application, this trunk lid is a hybrid combination of a resin skin on a steel frame. It gives Infiniti designers more freedom to develop shapes that can then be built in a single part.
Dedicated paint booth for ‘Dynamic Sandstone Red’
Infiniti says one major enhancement to the Tochigi facility is a new dedicated paint booth, which has been installed solely to allow production of Q60's new ‘Dynamic Sandstone Red’ paint finish. The glossy, deep red finish requires a new painting set-up, using a combination of machinery and manual processes developed by Infiniti's most senior coating experts.
The new paint booth enables workers in the Tochigi paint shop to more finely control paint thickness and quality, and the newly-developed Dynamic Sandstone Red paint process is the result of testing several hundred variations of paint formulations and application methods.
Takumi and Kaizen
Tochigi's 216 highly-skilled Takumi (master craftsmen) were picked from the plant's 4,500-strong workforce to work on the Infiniti production line. Infiniti's Takumi not only possess a particularly high level of technical knowledge; they are specially-trained in premium vehicle manufacturing, and have been chosen for their deep understanding of Infiniti and its core values. True to the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen – that of continuous improvement – Takumi undergo constant and intensive training to learn new techniques and skills.
Takumi work across every section of the Q60's production line including stamping, body shop, paint, assembly and quality assurance.
From the Takumi employed to work on Infiniti production, a further 6 Meister Takumi are selected – those with the highest understanding of premium car production and the desires and expectations of Infiniti's customers. Overseeing every aspect of Infiniti production at Tochigi, Meister Takumi ensure the manufacturing processes at the plant are fully attuned with the unique blend of attributes that differentiate Infiniti's products.