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Daikin Industries to Automate Air Conditioner Production Amid Soaring Global Demand

Company's strategy includes new manufacturing technologies, aiming to counter labor shortages and meet the 2050 demand surge
Japan
d 6367.TSE Blue Chip 150
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Daikin Industries, a major player in the air conditioning market, is set to revolutionize its assembly process by 2027, preparing for a global demand that is expected to triple by 2050. This strategic move comes as Japan faces a deepening labor shortage, compelling Daikin to innovate its production methods. The plan will be initiated in a new plant in Ibaraki prefecture, near Tokyo, starting as early as 2027.

The automation process will integrate feedback from plant workers right from the product development phase, focusing mainly on automating the assembly of heat exchangers and other components. However, intricate tasks like wiring will continue to be manual due to the complexity involved in tight spaces.

Daikin’s Shiga plant, situated east of Kyoto, is known for producing over 600 different models of home air conditioners annually, each with unique designs and assembly methods. The company has a history of redesigning products, like air purifiers, to facilitate automation, which has led to a 20% reduction in work hours per unit. This approach is now being adapted for air conditioner production.

Currently, a standard Daikin assembly line, with a capacity of 500,000 units annually, requires over 100 employees. The upcoming Ibaraki line is designed to operate with about half that number. Daikin’s future plans include further enhancing efficiency through faster and more compact assembly lines.

The anticipated surge in air conditioner installations globally, particularly in developing countries like India, and the ongoing replacement of older models in developed regions, underscores the need for such advancements. In response, Daikin is expanding its global footprint, opening new factories in countries including India, Indonesia, and Mexico between 2023 and 2024. While labor availability varies across these regions, the shift in production methods is essential to address workforce limitations and sustain growth.

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