On Friday, Julie and Ben had the opportunity to visit a manufacturing plant of Panasonic. This particular division produced fans and air cleaners for the consumer and industrial markets. We started the visit with a discussion with the division president. He highlighted that even in this tough economy, Panasonic has had one particular bright spot - air cleaners. The H1N1 concerns worldwide have greatly increased demand for the air cleaner/purification units. The production floor was running full steam ahead on the units during our visit. Sorry, the units are not available in the United States...
The production floor was formerly composed of large production lines. As the market demanded smaller production lots of any given product, they switched the production floor over to having many small work cells. Each banner hanging from the ceiling is a work cell (in all there were probably about 20 of them):
At the end of each work cell, the completed product is weighed to ensure that all components were enclosed.
This area was an exact replica of the work cells. It is used for training as well as testing new methods of improving the work cell.