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Chain Production Protected by Rooftop PV System for Self-consumption

No additional power contract despite new factory building operation

2019/09/04 15:35
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Tsubakimoto Chain Co, an automobile component manufacturer, has its Saitama Factory in Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. In July 2019, a new factory building dubbed the "New Tensioner Factory Building" to manufacture automobile components was completed within this Saitama Factory site (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Newly completed building in center of top photo(source: top Tsubakimoto Chain, bottom Nikkei BP)

Tsubakimoto Chain is based in Osaka. Its mainstay products are timing chain systems for automobile engines. In the global market for those products, the company boasts the largest share of 37%.

Tsubakimoto Chain manufactures products in 12 locations, in eight countries, including in five locations in Japan, namely Kyotanabe City and Nagaokakyo City in Kyoto Prefecture, Kasai City in Hyogo Prefecture, Tsuyama City in Okayama Prefecture, in addition to Saitama Factory, and seven other nations, namely the US, the UK, Thailand, China, South Korea, Mexico and Czech Republic. Saitama Factory plays the role of the mother factory.

At the completed New Tensioner Factory Building, as its name suggests, components used to abate the vibration of timing chains for automobile engines will be manufactured. Volume production is slated to begin in December.

The new factory building is positioned as the company's model factory. Featuring not only production improvement, Tsubakimoto Chain also proactively adopted diverse features to be required from now, such as energy conservation, measures against disasters and a pleasant working environment. It intends to extend the achievements to its other factories across the world in the future.

On the rooftop of the new building, 3,318 solar panels equivalent to roughly 1MW were arrayed. This solar power generation system simultaneously began operation in July when the building was completed.

Generated power is transmitted to the on-site grid at a high voltage and used within the Saitama Factory site. At this moment, all generated power is used in another building on-site. After volume production begins in the new factory building in December, the company is planning to use almost all generated power within the new building apart from some exceptional use at other facilities on-site.

Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services were entrusted to Fujita Corp, which also provided EPC services at the new factory building. A total of 3,318 solar panels (305W/unit) manufactured by Hanwha Q Cells Co Ltd of South Korea and two PV inverters with a rated capacity of 500kW each manufactured by Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC) were adopted (Fig. 2). Annual power generation is expected to total 947,324kWh.

Tsubakimoto Chain has adopted solar power generation systems at two of its factories in Japan. Generated power is self-consumed at both factories.