Sienna Plant Tour - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Sienna Plant Tour

Just a couple weeks ago, the plant where all the Sienna's are built in Princeton, IN (a few miles north of Evansville) started free public tours. We took the kids the second week (12, 10 and almost 7), and it was fantastic. After perusing the very interesting visitor center, and even making little Toyota poker chips by pushing buttons to turn the plastic pellets through the molding process, we boarded the tram and went onto the floor of the whole thing. We saw the whole process of Highlanders and Sequoias being made. From sheet metal to body parts, smelling the plastic molding and seeing the blower entrance to the paint, then the whole assembly, we eventually came to the point where they put in a couple gallons, start it up and drive it off the line. A new car was born! It takes 20 hours from beginning to end It was amazing.

We're taking the visiting, extended family back tomorrow. They said they were going to start the tours on the Sienna side of the plant this week - so I hope we get to see the new ones coming off the line - the sisters of our 2008 Sienna!

The experience ended with a Q & A time where we asked everything we could think of for about 20 minutes. The guides were long-time workers in different parts of the factory and had just about all the answers. They were great. I'd be interested in questions you may have for the very people lovingly putting our cars together. Let me know, and I'll ask them tomorrow. And I highly recommend a pilgrimage in your Sienna to its birthplace. Check out the website and schedule a tour here: http://www.tourtoyotaindiana.com/index.php
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 01:55 PM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

any mention on how many siennas will be built per day ?

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

They said they're doing 500 a day. Production is high on the Siennas for obvious reasons right now, and they're working some Saturdays. They are way down from capacity for the Sequoias and Highlanders - about half of capacity. Their explanation was the economy. I imagine its true for many companies and models.

I'd love to be ready with more questions you may have.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 06:27 PM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

I assume that the Highlanders and Sequoias are on separate lines, since they are completely dissimilar vehicles. On the other hand, I can see building a Highlander and Sienna on the same line, but it sounds like they are separate, too. Is this a three-line plant? The website seems to describe only two of everything.

I toured Ford's Dearborn plant as a little kid and GM's Oshawa plant in 1977; both were well worth the visit, and it would be interesting to see a modern plant.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 07:14 PM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

Its annoying that their producing 500 per day for how long now and the first ones have yet to come to Canada ! Whereas some dealers in the U.S. have dozens of them on their lot?!?!
Thanks for the info Reveric, much appreciated.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

The Highlanders and Sequioas are on the same line. Colors and models were simply mixed in as they were ordered and came out of the different color sections. Each vehicle had a big "recipe" sheet on the front with a bunch of barcode sections for the assemblers for the particular features. The parts would arrive just in time for their appropriately featured vehicle. They would mark things off as they moved the vehicle forward. They were proud of speaking of how they "pull" vehicles from the orders around the country. They don't make a vehicle until it's been ordered. It was amazing on that line how each vehicle was different - all mixed up on the line - but with a single process working for all. The other side of the plant (the West side) is dedicated to Siennas alone. I'm sure it's a little simpler - but still with the different versions, colors and features mixed in together along the way. With all the suspended conveyers and robotic transports, it kind of reminded me of the kids movie, Monsters, Inc.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 09:10 PM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

Quote:
Originally Posted by reveric
The Highlanders and Sequioas are on the same line...
Each vehicle had a big "recipe" sheet on the front with a bunch of barcode sections for the assemblers for the particular features. The parts would arrive just in time for their appropriately featured vehicle...
I'm impressed. Assembly lines have had appropriate parts for each specific vehicle arrive just-in-time for decades, but normally the assembly tools and fixtures are suited to one particular design of vehicle, so the same line could not (for instance) plant a Sequoia drivetrain and body on its truck-style frame and still be able to insert a Highlander drivetrain into its unibody. It looks like I'm due for another plant tour!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 06:53 AM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

Nice!
Always wanted to do a Sienna "homecoming" like they do for Corvettes and used to for Saturns.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

We did the tour again yesterday. It was the first day through the Sienna side! Once again, it is awe inspiring to see both the vastness and detail of putting a vehicle together from sheet metal to start up and driving off the line in a 20 hour process. It's fascinating to see Siennas at each stage of assembly. The whole plant is 4 million square feet (70 acres). The marriage of automation and human care is impressive. The extended family (including the retired professor of automotive engineering) all had a great time. It's well worth it!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 08:26 PM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

Quote:
Originally Posted by derek234
Its annoying that their producing 500 per day for how long now and the first ones have yet to come to Canada ! Whereas some dealers in the U.S. have dozens of them on their lot?!?!
I saw a loaded truck today with the new sienna. So they are now north of the boarder. Most likely drop 1 or 2 to each dealer. Depending on where you live I think you will see them very soon.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2011, 01:47 PM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

I had the most amazing experience seeing the Toyota principles of lean manufacturing at work during my tour of the Tsutsumi assembly plant in Toyota City, Aichi, Japan in September, 2006. This sprawling line builds 5-6 different car models for Japanese consumption as well as cars for export to the USA (LH & RH drive) simultaneously on the same track, in an ever changing mix of product! That includes the LH & RH drive version of the Prius. The kids were given plastic Prius model kits as their ‘take home’ prize for attending. Everyone was happy!

We even got to see the response when a worker blew the whistle on a slacking robotic welder, and the line came to an immediate halt. Pretty exciting to see about 30 people descend on the station, slap the welder around a bit for screwing up, redo the roof panel on one car, inspect another, and then sound the ‘all clear’.

Our family was there as guests of a dear old friend and employee. Our friend works in their patent & legal office, and she e-mailed us an invitation to her wedding in nearby Nagoya. I responded, pretty much as a joke, that we would attend if she could arrange a VIP plant tour. Two days later it was a done deal, and I was obliged to book 4 plane tickets to Osaka! As a car geek, it was sort of my day in heaven. And the very traditional temple wedding later that week wasn’t bad either! Just kidding – that was fantastic.

Big impression of the day: Remember the scene in Monsters, Inc. when Sculley and Boo end up on the roller coaster door moving system? That’s kind of what it looked like at one point. In a sister building they assemble complete doors. Every color, interior trim option, power or manual, sets of 2 or 4, etc. for LH or RH bodies rolling down the line. Hundreds of doors swinging by on an overhead tram, and the right set drop down to mate with the car at the appointed time!

We were in pretty heady company on the tour that day. I’ve never hung with an Ambassador before!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2011, 01:35 PM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

lucky man! I only wish I could get that kind of tour.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 08:05 PM
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Re: Sienna Plant Tour

What did they say about toyota changing from a beautiful soft touch dash 2004-2010 to hard cheap plastic dash in 2011-12
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-04-2015, 05:21 AM
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1000 words of meaningless drivel removed.....

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