Toyota Previews What Their Engineering Headquarters in Kentucky Is Working On
As auto manufacturers look to an electrified future, they need more staff to design how this will happen. In addition to electrified vehicles, new production methods and further staff training are required. Toyota has its Production Engineering and Manufacturing Center to help with this work. Located in Kentucky, the division recently shared what it’s working on and that it will be growing.
More jobs for Toyota’s production engineering division in North America
Toyota announced in April 2022 its plans to add 220 new jobs in North America for its Production Engineering Division. This group helps to connect design and manufacturing, and the additional staff will support the growth in electrified vehicle production, reports WKYT in Lexington, Kentucky. The larger number of staff will allow for increased innovation in Toyota’s engineering technology to design and build everything from plants to equipment to production processes.
Toyota’s Production Engineering and Manufacturing Center in Kentucky is the engineering headquarters
Many of the new jobs will be at Toyota’s Production Engineering and Manufacturing Center, which is in Georgetown, Kentucky. This location already serves as the North American headquarters for production engineering and has almost 800 engineers. The $80 million site opened in 2017, says WTVQ. It is near Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK), Toyota’s biggest vehicle manufacturing plant in the world. The site works on innovations that could be introduced into Toyota’s 14 manufacturing facilities in the United States, explains station LEX18.
In October 2022, WKYT visited Toyota’s Georgetown location for an event showcasing work being done there. Virtual reality, augmented reality, and robots are used to automate vehicle building and make the process faster. Virtual reality is even used to train the Toyota workforce to build future vehicles that don’t yet exist.
Tom Buffetta, Toyota’s Vice President of Production Engineering, said, “How do we educate our workforce to build that product of the future? Today, we were able to show different types of virtual reality where we can bring our current product in with our future product with our current tools that don’t exist today. Where we can bring them into a virtual world and actually train our team members before we have to have a tool or vehicle that actually exists, so we can pull that into our environment.”
One program can let Toyota customers see how a vehicle would fit into their garage at home. Engineers also study new ways to paint vehicles. A variety of vehicle engines were displayed at the event, showing Toyota’s focus on meeting consumer needs now and in the future. The engines can be created on a 3D printer for display purposes. The Georgetown location also works on multiple outreach programs in partnership with the University of Kentucky, the local children’s hospital, and other organizations.
Many new positions will come to the production engineering division in Kentucky
With more than 200 people being added to the Toyota production engineering staff, the enlarged division will help prepare the workplace and the workforce for a future focused on efficient production of electrified vehicles.
Of the new 220 jobs, 117 will be in Kentucky, while the rest will be at other North American Toyota manufacturing plants. In a statement, Brian Krinock, a Toyota senior vice president, said, “As we ramp up our plans for additional electrified products in North America, we must have the resources and talent in place to lead that transformation,” reports the AP.
Toyota has announced plans to invest about $70 billion in electrified vehicles over the next nine years, which includes hybrids, plug-ins, all-electric, and hydrogen electric vehicles, says CNBC. Of that total, $35 billion will be for all-electric battery technologies. The increased staff at Toyota’s Production Engineering and Manufacturing Center in Kentucky will develop new, more efficient ways to produce these future vehicles.