Toyota Australia: Global ambition, local operation

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


Toyota recently opened its largest parts warehouse in Western Sydney, aiming for it to be Toyota’s best global warehouse in safety, efficiency and sustainability

Toyota Australia: Global ambition, local operation
An aerial view of the facility

 

After a number of years of planning and more than 11 months of construction, Toyota Australia opened its largest and newest parts warehouse at Kemps Creek in Western Sydney.

Located on a 6.4 hectare site, the Toyota Parts Centre (TPC) can house more than 128,000 Toyota parts for commercial and passenger vehicles.

Around 27,000 parts and accessories that arrive from local and overseas suppliers and throughout Toyota’s facilities will be shipped to Toyota’s dealers daily.

Toyota supply parts and accessories to its local Australian dealer network consisting of 308 Toyota and Lexus dealer sites.

Those local dealer sites then deliver to more than three million Toyota units in operations within Australia.

Located close to a network of motorways and major arterial roads, the warehouse features more than 50,000 square metres of total work area and class-leading safety and technology, including low-rack storage, which will provide a safer and more efficient workplace as employees will no longer need to work at heights to reach parts.

Officially opened in November, the site can accommodate up to 65 trucks per day, consisting of 22 trucks inbound and 43 outbound.

Toyota uses a proprietary software system for its warehousing operations that was developed by its parent company in Japan.

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GLOBAL BEST

Speaking at the event, Toyota Australia president and CEO Matthew Callachor says Toyota wanted to make the best global warehouse in safety, efficiency and sustainability.

"Our commitment as a mobility company is to address the environmental challenges that we face and to contribute to an ever-better society," Callachor says.

"Embracing green building solutions, cutting CO2 emissions and utilising alternative fuel sources go hand-in-hand with our production plans for new vehicles.

"We are already the leader in fuel-saving hybrid technology and we plan to introduce at least five new hybrid vehicles to our range by mid-2020, including the next generation RAV4 [in 2019]," he adds.


Read about the Kenworth T680s to be powered by Toyota hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains, here


In addition to the Prius, Prius V, Camry hybrid and Corolla hybrid, the next cab off the rank will be the all-new Rav4, which will be Toyota’s first hybrid SUV in Australia, and the hybrid Corolla Sedan in late 2019.

EMISSIONS ABATEMENT

As part of Toyota Australia’s plans to reduce the TPC site to zero emissions by 2020, some 2,200 solar panels were installed on the warehouse roof.

"Our commitment as a mobility company is to address the environmental challenges that we have as part of our contribution to an ever-better society," Toyota’s head of public affairs, Brodie Bott, says.

"The solar panels have already generated 556,000kWh, which is enough to power 125 four-person households.

"Long-term, hydrogen for the fuel cell forklifts will be able to be generated from the solar panel array," she adds.

The power generated so far – before the building became operational – has prevented more than 477 tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, the company says.

Other environmental features built into the site include rainwater tanks for irrigation and toilets as well as energy-efficient LED sensor lights.

The building is cleverly positioned at a specific angle to ensure maximum natural cooling, effectively reducing air-conditioning costs.

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AI AND HYDROGEN

Toyota uses its own forklifts on site, with a trial of fuel-cell forklifts currently being conducted.

The TPC will include full separation of man and machine to build in safety as well as the first use of a fleet of autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs) to reduce manual carrying of parts.

Five AIV are currently on site and work alongside Toyota’s employees, contributing to the improved safety of staff by reducing manual handling as well as improving the efficiency of a number of tasks, Bott says.

For the first time outside of Japan, Toyota Australia has been trialling the hydrogen powered Toyota Material Handling (TMH) fuel cell (FC) electric forklifts, with a long-term goal of being able to generate hydrogen on site in the future.

Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) said in early November it has put the first fuel cell forklifts into action during trials at Toyota Australia’s parts centre at its former manufacturing plant at Altona, Victoria.

The hydrogen FC forklifts have a nominal rating of 2,500kg lift capacity and take pressurised hydrogen, which is fed into a fuel cell stack, where it is combined with oxygen to create a chemical reaction that produces electricity to drive various motors depending on demand for motive power or hydraulic power for steering, braking or lifting loads.

According to TMHA general manager – corporate compliance and project development Bob Walmsley, the hydrogen FC forklifts take around three minutes to fill the hydrogen tank compared with around eight hours to recharge a conventional battery.

"This means we can use these forklifts more often, without having to significantly wait between charges or use second-shift batteries to achieve the same utilisation," Walmsley says. 

The zero CO2-emission forklift demonstration is an extension of Toyota’s simultaneous trial for its Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), which share the same hydrogen-powered technology, the company says. 

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BETTER TOGETHER

TMHA president and CEO Steve Takacs identifies their use as one of the synergies available to Toyota Material Handling Australia from Toyota’s automotive arm. 

"In much the same way Toyota’s range of forklift products are researched and developed using Toyota’s advanced manufacturing technologies – and built to the same exacting standards of quality, durability and reliability as Toyota’s automotive vehicles – our engineers collaborate across the Toyota Group to incorporate the latest technologies acquired from our automotive sector," Takacs says.

"These hydrogen FC forklifts are a clear demonstration of our commitment to the environment through the adoption of new and sustainable technologies.

"They have excellent environmental credentials as they do not emit CO2 or substances of concern [SOCs] during operation." 

The Toyota hydrogen FC forklifts and Mirai are not for sale in Australia "mainly due to a lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure" the company says.

Toyota’s mobile hydrogen fuelling station installed on a Hino 700 Series truck fuelled the FC forklifts and Mirai during the trials.

 

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