Nissan has announced that its new Global Production Engineering Center (GPEC) has begun full-scale operations.

The new state-of-the-art center for production engineering is located at Nissan's Zama Operations Centre in Kanagawa Prefecture. As the focal point for production engineering and development for all of Nissan's production facilities worldwide, GPEC will play a key role in redefining Nissan's global standards in manufacturing.

The centre aims to develop breakthrough technologies in manufacturing processes, focusing on enhancing quality, productivity and development lead time.

"The new GPEC and Global Training Center (GTC) represent long-term investments for Nissan in terms of delivering high-quality products to our customers worldwide. Both facilities are critical to the continued evolution of the Nissan Production Way (NPW) as a proven global standard," said Nissan Executive Vice President, Hidetoshi Imazu. "As we cut down the development lead time to introduce more new products and build them across the world, it is important that Nissan maintains the high levels of quality that our customers expect."

Operations at the new GPEC will focus on intensive production trial and analysis for new vehicle production, covering every stage of the production process, from the press shop, to body-welding and vehicle assembly. At GPEC, the goal is to refine the quality and efficiency at the production trial stage, and ensure a consistent level of quality is achieved at the start of production (SOP) for a new vehicle, at all of Nissan's plants worldwide.

Under the Nissan Value-Up mid-term business plan, the company announced it will conduct 70 unique SOP events globally, with 30 still remaining for 2007 alone. The newly completed GPEC centralised production trial and analysis processes will contribute to these SOP events this year.

Since 2005, Nissan has been implementing V-3P (*1) in order to reduce development lead time. V-3P is an advanced multi-dimension digital design and engineering software program that allows the parallel development of design, engineering and production processes through virtual data manipulation. When a new vehicle project reaches its confirmation milestone, there is an immense amount of digital data available such as those related to the die, jig and tooling.

With the set of relevant data, the engineers at GPEC can set up a trial production line for the vehicle that is consistent to the Nissan Integrated Manufacturing System (NIMS). By employing this technology, the engineers can fully monitor, control and rectify all the parameters to ensure a smooth and seamless production process at the actual SOP. The final programs developed at GPEC can be accurately and exactly duplicated to any of Nissan's global manufacturing sites. Each plant can then start up a new vehicle production in a faster timeframe whilst maintaining the high quality standards.

Construction of GPEC commenced in October 2005 at Area 2 of the Zama Operations Centre. With a total investment of 5.1 billion yen, the completed facility boasts an area of 30,000m 2, which will accommodate 300 employees. The centre includes a pilot plant designed to test equipment destined for overseas locations. It also conducts body- welding testing and other systems analysis. GPEC will serve as a centralised facility for all production trials and analysis for all future products.

*1: V-3P: Value-Up Innovation of Product, Process and Program is an advanced vehicle development process that aims to reduce development lead time from 20.75 to 10.50 months, stretching from design approval to new model launch.

*2: NIMS evolved from the Nissan Standard Line and was developed to deliver high quality new products at the global level in a shorter timeframe.