Interview/ Vehicle design・manufacturing

Talking to the People in Charge Impressive Strengths of Our AGT

Interview

Quality Assurance

Maintaining high operation rates
with superior quality

Norifumi Fukada

Norifumi Fukada
Quality Assurance Department

Transportation systems must have high operation rates supported by good quality (design, manufacturing and maintenance quality). MHI Group AGT systems boast high operational rates worldwide thanks to thorough maintenance of this quality. One major advantage at the MIHARA Test Center is our ability to identify problems that may occur prior to delivery.
Whenever a problem is found, we strive to identify the cause and deal with it as soon as possible. When an issue arises, we don’t let the parts manufacturers or partners handle that alone but work together with them to clarify the causes and take the appropriate countermeasures, which allows all sides to expand their knowledge base. I believe this is our corporate culture. Sharing knowhow and reflecting it on individual product lineups is also our strength.
Quality assurance is about preventing repeat failures. To achieve this it’s necessary to share such events with all members even if they were not directly involved. We also focus on preparing clear and simple materials for those who have recently taken charge of operations.

Trial Runs

Proving the preeminence of AGT

Kazuhide Kimura

Kazuhide Kimura
Transportation Systems Project Dept.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Transportation Equipment Engineering & Service Co., Ltd.

I am in charge of trial run for AGT test cars at the MIHARA Test Center prior to delivery. I check whether required performance meets the specifications such as acceleration and braking distance and adhere to all regulations.
AGT is operated automatically, but during trial runs we often drive them manually. AGT has many advantages such as the capacity to ascend steep slopes and turn on tight curves. Once you see AGT cars in action, you can readily appreciate these advantages, especially when decelerating. AGT cars use not iron wheels but non-slip rubber tires to achieve shorter braking distances, which makes you feel much more secure and safe when stopping or rapidly decelerating.
AGT’s high level of safety is one of its best features. We will ensure safe test runs deliver train cars to customers which they can use with a sense of security.

Operation & Maintenance (O&M)

O&M unit taking proactive action!

Masao Hiromasa

Masao Hiromasa
Vehicle Production Department

Not being limited to AGT, it is very important that all delivered cars do not cause any problems. The ideal is to deliver cars that require no follow-up service. To achieve this, it is crucial for O&M to provide feedback to Manufacturing covering all troubles, issues and concerns, to ensure similar problems will never occur again. Maintenance manuals are continuously improved to enable customers to handle issues on their own and allow us to respond swiftly when necessary.
Previously we had a passive approach to maintenance, often taking action only after receiving inquiries from customers. Today, global trends are shifting toward preventive maintenance. We too, must take the initiative by, for example, offering proposals in advance, such as “It’s almost time for parts replacement.”

Procurement

Achieving high level design
while reducing costs

Hiroshi Kamewada

Hiroshi Kamewada
Procurement Department

Procurement of parts and components for AGT cars is being done by a select few. I am in charge of car body components, including the interior and exterior panels, lighting, doors, glass and tires. Suppliers are often surprised at the sheer diversity of procurement items we require.
A key feature of our AGT cars is the high level of design. Achieving a pleasant outwardly appearance while balancing quality, delivery and costs is quite difficult. I sometimes feel like saying, “Hey, wait a minute!” when I see a new design for the first time. Project managers, members in charge of design, other stakeholders and suppliers gather to discuss how to achieve the optimum balance between design, quality, delivery and cost. Compared to bullet and commuter trains, the volume of AGT cars are small and the orders for suppliers are few. To ensure their continued cooperation we try to have them feel they can innovate together with us. Uniting with suppliers is the key to creating train cars that please our customers and ultimately the passengers.