A Walk Around Yanmar in Japan
By Mike Osenga21 April 2020
Today Yanmar has a global footprint, 20,000-plus employees and is run from its corporate headquarters in Osaka, Japan. Its engines are used in a variety of applications including vessels, pleasure boats, construction and agricultural equipment and generator sets. Diesel Progress International Editor Ian Cameron visited some of the Yanmar facilities in the country.
Yanmar’s futuristic new headquarters in Osaka sums up how far the company has progressed from its humble beginnings 108 years ago.
The building, naturally, is in the shape of a ship’s bow and is aiming to be a zero-emissions office with its own co-generation sets and solar panels typically providing enough power for the 12 story complex (and for the shops and businesses below), sensors which adjust the brightness internally and a 50 foot-high “living wall” of plants which capture carbon dioxide in the outside air.
For good measure there is also an on-site shrine where, on the first day of every year, employees can pray for the future success of the company.
Yanmar has engine factories globally, notably in China, Italy, Thailand and Indonesia with another, in north Chennai India making 80,000 units annually, due to start production this year for the domestic construction and agricultural equipment sectors.
There are also regional headquarters in the Netherlands, Singapore and Georgia in the United States.
However, its flagships plants are in Japan notably at Biwa in Shiga Prefecture where it makes smaller vertical, water-cooled diesel and gas engines and its Amagasaki plant in in Hyōgo Prefecture where it produces larger engines, components and industrial gas turbines.
The Biwa site, part of Yanmar’s Industrial Power Products Division, covers approximately 100,000 m². The main engine line produced at Biwa is the Stage 5 TNV vertical, water-cooled engine from 6 to 88 kW mainly used to power tractors, harvesters, mini excavators, wheeled loaders, forklifts and gen-sets.
Also produced at the plant is the air-cooled L Series diesel engine with outputs from 3 to 6.8 kW and the horizontal water-cooled TF/TS Series from 4 to 22 kW. In Italy Yanmar produces the single-cylinder air-cooled L Series diesel engine with outputs from 3 to 6.8 kW and, In Indonesia, the horizontal water-cooled TF/TS Series from 4 to 22 kW.
The site has highly automated lines and can build more than 2,000 different engine models. However, the company recently introduced new models which offer higher power outputs.
They are the 4TN101 3.8 L, EU Stage V-compliant common rail engine with turbocharger and charged air cooler which produces 55 -105 kW and 550 Nm of torque and the 4TN107, a 4.6 L, EU Stage V-compliant, common rail engine with a two stage turbocharger and charged air cooler peaking at 155 kW with a maximum torque of 805 Nm. At the end of 2019 the first serial production models were rolled out of Yanmar’s highly automated factory in Japan.
The new gas-powered industrial engines that use liquid petroleum gas – the 45 kW 4TN88G 2.2 L and 63 kW 4TN98G 3.3 L are scheduled to be added to Yanmar’s line-up.
The company also has a large-scale test centre on site carrying out validation and checking and capable of testing with various fuels and various altitude and temperature conditions.
The Amagasaki site is part of Yanmar’s Large Power Products Management Division and covers 76,600 m² and was completed in 1936 manufacturing, water-cooled, horizontal diesel engines known as the S-model although later switching to produce large diesels for propulsion and auxiliary engines for marine use, land use and general applications. In 1983 gas turbines were added to the product mix.
The factory builds diesel and dual fuel engines, mainly for marine applications, from 180 to 4800 kWe. In the marine sector the Amagasaki engines are principally used to power patrol and passenger vessels, tugboats, bulk carriers, containers vessels and VLCCs – very large shipping vessels.
Cylinder blocks and liners, crankshafts, camshafts and connecting rods are all machined on sites and Yanmar said the plant also houses the largest polishing machine in Japan to polish crankshaft.
Diesel Progress International also talked to Makoto Shimmura who is a Yanmar director and board member who talked about the company’s future plans and prospects.
He said: “Our core competence has always been building engines and this is where we see out business continuing to grow – especially in overseas markets.
“To some extent our strengths have not been fully understood outside Japan, but we are changing that. We are also looking for long-term growth and, in that respect, it is helpful that we are privately owned. We will have an increased focus on new
“It is likely that our agricultural business will grow and expand where populations are growing around the world such as South-East Asia, India and African countries.
“But we also see growth coming through not only internal developments but also partnerships. I can foresee growth through possible partnerships even with start-ups and we are in the process of talking to start-up and developing companies.”
And does he see a long-term future for diesel engines in the face of the ongoing emphasis on electrification?
“Absolutely. The diesel engine will be an ongoing big line of business for us but, of course, there is always a good argument to be made for electrification.”
Remote Product Support
Yanmar has also established a Remote Support Center in Osaka which constantly monitors customer equipment worldwide.
There are three separate monitoring system depending in which sector a customer operates -The three systems are RESS (for gen -sets and air conditioning) Ships Supporter (marine engine monitoring) and Smart Assist (which collects and analyses data on the operating conditions of agricultural and construction equipment)
The monitors notify customer service staff or technicians if an error occurs and provides a response which minimizes downtime.
For theft prevention customers are notified by email and phone if equipment moves out of a pre-defined area or if it operates outside pre-set working hours.