Munich, Spring 2023. Covering an area of around 18,450 square metres, EBARA Corporation has built a new production facility in Fujisawa, Japan, near Tokyo. As a standout feature, the factory is fully automated. It is home to the production of dry vacuum pumps for the international market. Dry vacuum pumps are indispensable for manufacturing semiconductors, flat screens, LEDs and solar cells. As a visionary and idea generator for the industry, EBARA has implemented an innovative production environment with automated processes.
The automated factory
After the corporate inauguration in 2020, the assembly process of the rotor and casing line successively went into operation starting in October. Now, all process stages – from materials provision through processing, assembly, warehousing and shipping have been implemented, and the smart workflow in the model plant is running according to plan. Its high degree of automation with fewer process stages and shorter set-up times – due to optimised batch sizes for processing and assembly – is a key factor for production efficiency. Important automation modules include autonomous RFID robot operation, an automatic module assembly line, a fleet management system with unmanned in-line transport, real-time management using IoT (Internet of Things, Factory 4.0) and integrated process bundling of all activities as a one-stop shop. Thanks to this, EBARA has maximised its production capacities, while doubling processing capacities and tripling assembly capacities.
Integrated quality management
The high degree of automation contributes significantly to strict error reduction, ensures traceability management by means of series stamping and provides digitised analysis data throughout the entire manufacturing process. The integrated bundling of all processes ensures maximum reliability in terms of delivery and punctuality, eliminates supply bottlenecks, ensures shorter delivery times and optimised distribution processes. “The new plant is a major milestone for EBARA’s ‘Vision 2030’ plan,” says Dr. Reinhart Richter, Managing Director of EBARA Precision Machinery Europe. The factory is designed to produce more than 20,000 units a year.
Being an innovator
“As the world’s leading supplier of vacuum pumps, we are aware of our technological responsibility towards our customers,” says Dr. Reinhart Richter. “Our company’s guiding principles are constant improvement, lean production, and ever lower resource consumption, also in our customers’ plants.” For EBARA customers, lower cooling water and energy consumption levels during vacuum pump operation is essential for achieving their sustainability goals. Likewise, they expect the supplier to have a good sustainability management. EBARA consistently pursues its goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and has achieved ISO 14001 certification for all of its facilities worldwide.
Further construction projects
The automated factory complements the neighbouring R&D department including an Innovation Lab for dry vacuum pumps and gas purification systems, which went into operation in 2019. On the company’s huge premises in Fujisawa – a former airport with stunning views of Mount Fuji, Japan’s largest mountain and a World Heritage Site – a further building has been under construction since October 2022 to provide space for innovations of the future. There are also plans to build a new 14,500-square-meter production facility in southern Japan in order to expand capacities.
EBARA Precision Machinery Europe (EPME) GmbH, headquartered in Sauerlach near Munich, is the European sales and service company of EBARA Corporation Tokyo. EBARA is a leading global manufacturer of vacuum and semiconductor systems used to produce wafers, liquid crystals, solar cells and other high-tech products. EBARA Corporation was founded in 1912 by Issey Hatakeyama and employs over 19,000 people worldwide. With an annual turnover of 4.7 billion euros, EBARA is one of the two largest companies in the industry. EBARA supplies 16 of the top 20 manufacturers in the chip industry.