8.1 – Check, please!
8.2 – Hands-on job
Cars arrive from the Assembly Shop on an overhead gantry. Their first stop in Quality Assurance is the interior check team, where it takes 15 minutes to examine every part of the interior.
Next to be inspected for quality of fit and finish is the bodywork and exterior trim. This is where the most sensitive tools in the factory are used for the first time – members’ hands. They’re trained to feel along the body panels and panel gaps to check for imperfections or inconsistencies. However, finding any faults would be a surprise. Each car has passed numerous inspections already, and built-in quality processes mean that faults are spotted and fixed long before the car reaches this point.
Quality Assurance members carry out over 2,000 checks on every car before it leaves the factory. It’s all part of Poka-Yoke – one of the values of the Toyota Production System that translates as ‘mistake-proofing’.
8.3 – Function follows form
In the function line, the underbody is checked and the fit and finish of the exhaust and floor pan is scrutinised. Then while the steering alignment is fine-tuned, bolts and fixings are double-checked for security. The headlamp height, angle, beam and brightness are examined to ensure brightness and reach, and there are eight different types of brake light to check – each designed to comply with different legal requirements in the 56 countries to which the cars are shipped.
8.4 – Water torture
Soon afterwards, the car is subjected to a special leak test that drenches it with more than 900 litres of water in a specially adapted shower room. It’s the equivalent of driving through water pressure that exceeds the heaviest recorded monsoon. Naturally, all the water is recycled back into the system and reused.
8.5 – Power is nothing without control
Engine and chassis quality confirmation ensures there are no leaks. The confirmation process here involves using video probes to get a close-up view of brake union joints and other tricky-to-see areas.
8.6 – Put under the spotlight
The car is now ready to leave the production line at Burnaston. A total of 825 processes have turned sheet steel and parts into a fully functioning, road-legal car in a little more than 12 hours.