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Toyota Production Systems Lab

John Kaemmerlen
Senior Lecturer

The Toyota Production Systems lab was founded in 2006 with support from the Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America. The mission of this facility is to provide hands-on education in state-of-the-art production systems. Particular emphasis is placed on the concepts of teamwork, problem solving and process improvement by studying the fundamental behavior of production lines.

Residing in a 2,500 sq. ft. room in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering. It contains two modular assembly lines and a storage area that contains parts, assemblies and structural components. The facility can be reconfigured to stage assembly, kitting, storage, and warehousing scenarios. Some combinations of these operations are also possible. Within each scenario, it is possible to represent larger systems (e.g., an assembly operation line fed by a supplier and that delivers to customers) or to isolate specific parts of the operation to focus on a certain aspect of interest (e.g. the ergonomics of a workstation, the conveyance from a supplier, the heijunka-based leveling of the line, etc.). The expansion of the lab several years ago to an adjacent room (930 sq. ft.) creates a high-density warehouse that could feed the assembly lines and also provide for order picking operations typical of a distribution facility. Two sections of the lab reserved for teamwork contain tables and white boards. The audiovisuals include a ceiling-mounted projector that swivels for displays on different walls. This is used for both lecturing and for displaying line status and production run time.

Courses that take advantage of this lab include: ISEE 120 Fundamentals of Industrial Engineering, ISEE 323, Facilities Planning, ISEE 330 Ergonomics and Human Factors, ISEE 421 Design and Analysis of Production Systems, ISEE 626 Contemporary Production Systems, ISEE 728 Production Systems Management, as well as other courses.  When required, a Production Systems Practicum course is also delivered for non-IEs.  The number of lab experiences developed has grown from a few to over 40 that are delivered to a broad range of audiences (from K-12 through graduate level).

For more about information, see The Toyota Lab site.

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