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JAPAN: Toyota wins approval for hydrogen tank inspection

By Chris Wright | 1 September 2014

Toyota has been given the go-ahead to self-inspect the high pressure hydrogen tanks it makes for its fuel cell vehicles.

Under Japanese legislation, all containers and accessories for storing gases at pressures of 1MPa (10 bar) and above must be type certified, and are subjected to witnessed inspections by the High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan during the manufacturing process.

Hydrogen tanks require an additional inspection upon completion which, until now, has meant inspectors were required to be present during the manufacture of tanks for Toyota's various test vehicles.

This, in turn, meant that tank inventory control and manufacturing plans, in addition to broader FCV production plans, needed to be adjusted around tank inspection schedules. The carmaker has now received approval from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to self-inspect the tanks after demonstrating that it possesses a high level manufacturing quality management system.

Toyota said it will now be able to manufacture tanks using in-house inspectors, without the need for witnessed inspections. The company believes this will lead to improved manufacturing efficiency for high pressure hydrogen tanks, and to productivity improvements and cost reductions for FCVs.