A rare glimpse at how your cameras are made at the Nikon Thailand Factory


ortega

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Earlier in October I was invited to a tour inside the Nikon Factory at Rojana Industrial Park, Ayutthaya, Thailand.




First some background information



The thailand factory is one of the 7 factories that manufactures our cameras and lenses.
With the high end DSLRs and Film cameras made in Sendai Nikon and High end lenses in Tochigi Nikon

The Thailand factory currently manufacturers the following DSLRs

D810, D750, D610, D300S, D7100, D7000, D90, D5300, D5200, D5100, D3300, D3200 and D3100

and the following lenses

• AF­‐S DX NIKKOR 18‐140 mm. F/3.5‐5.6G ED VR
• AF‐S DX VR II Zoom NIKKOR ED 18­‐200mm F3.5­‐5.6G (IF)
• AF‐S DX Zoom NIKKOR ED 18­‐55mm F3.5­‐5.6G VR
• AF‐S DX Zoom NIKKOR ED 18‐105mm F3.5‐5.6G VR
• AF­‐S VR Zoom NIKKOR ED 70‐300mm F4.5‐5.6G (IF)
• AF‐S DX Zoom NIKKOR ED 18‐55mm F3.5‐5.6G (Black)/(Silver)
• AF‐S DX Zoom NIKKOR ED 16‐85mm F3.5­‐5.6G ED VR
• AF‐S 70­‐200 F/4G ED VR
• AF‐S VR Zoom NIKKOR 24­‐120mm F/3.5‐5.6G IF‐ED
• AF­‐S MC 60/F 2.8G ED
• AF­‐S DX 18‐300/3.5­‐5.6G ED VR
• AF‐S NIKKOR 28­‐300mm F/3.5­‐5.6G ED VR

With all that experience Nikon is moving some of the new cameras and lenses to be manufactured in thailand.
Notable the D810, D750 DSLRs and the really sharp 70-200 f4 and 60 Micro

In 2013 Nikon has started a factory to Laos to share some of the load from Thailand.
I believe that this is also to spread out the manufacturing base to different areas after the 2011 flood.

The factories in China make Coolpix and Nikon 1 cameras.





Nikon Thailand is 100% owned by Nikon Corp Japan with a paid up capital of 1.2 Billion Bhat (roughly S$47.5 million)
Established in October 1990 and constructed in November 1991, its first shipment was the 35-70mm AF in April 1992.

 

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ortega

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The company's philosophy and vision to be the No.1 high performance factory
Looking at its track record and quality of products being manufactured there, I believe that they are well on the way to achieving it

Some interesting numbers next



As you can see from the slide above, the staff strength reached its peak in 2006 and then came down to 2011 when it was hit by the flood
Currently at just over 7000 workers. With most of the staff being female who have smaller hands to put together all the intricate parts.



An view of all the buildings at this facility
 

ortega

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History of all the items that were made here




Do you see your camera in there, I had the F801s, D70 and D80 that served me well

What else is made here?



as you can see from the slide above, this plant not only assembles the cameras and lenses but also make the smaller parts.
Nikon Thailand makes around 90% of all Nikon units.
 

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ortega

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The Flood in 2011 submerged the entire 1st floor of the factory which halted production and damaged machinery and records.
Thankfully the staff were safe.



The dept of the flood water was about 2.8m which submerged the entire first floor, it was only after 40 days that the water begin to subside and this caused extensive damage.
Although precautions were taken for this yearly flood, the extent of the 2011 flood was unexpected. The Thai Army and Government officials were ther to provide assistance to salvage as much as possible, especially the molds and casts. Water pumps were deployed, it took about 40 days before the waters subsided.

After being submerged in water for 40 days, all documents were damaged, so Nikon Thailand had a huge task to re-register all the staff (2010 head count was about 9000).
And to clear out the factory and start again from scratch.
 

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ortega

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While the waters slowly subsided and the factory restored, the Thai workers were located temporarily in Japan.



New flood prevention measures were taken to make sure that it did not happen again.
Some of the part processes were moved to a new factory in Saraburi, which is on higher ground.



The whole area is now protected further by a new wall. Important utilities were raised up and an evacuation plan for machinery was made.




And Nikon Lao was established
 

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ortega

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Well wishes from Japan to Nikon Thailand during the flood

We were not allowed to take pictures at the assembly line, these images are official images from Nikon


Lens element's appearance check before input to assembly process


Lens unit appearance check
 

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ortega

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Quality control process for image sensor


Quality control process for image sensor


Attachment of name plate for D750


Camera precision data measurement in dark studio
 

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ortega

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D750 operation/functional check


Final QC of D750 before moving onto the packing process


Final QC of D810 before moving onto the packing process

We witness the assembly of D750 D810 and lenses
The assemble line is in a clean room environment where dust and dirt are "kept" outside by various measures
every process is thoroughly checked for quality and sent back if it does not pass QC


It takes about 100 mins to assembly a camera by the skilled workers in Thailand.
Production lines are adjusted after weekly data from sales worldwide are collected by Nikon HQ in Japan.

The most difficult process in the assembly line is the cleaning of the sensor.
The factory having to start over after the flood also results in a more productive assembly line with the addition of automation in some processes.
 

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ortega

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#13
you are welcomed, I'm glad that you found it useful
My trip there changed my perception of Made in Thailand when I personally witnessed the assembly and quality control at the Thailand Factory.
 

ST4Ever

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you are welcomed, I'm glad that you found it useful
My trip there changed my perception of Made in Thailand when I personally witnessed the assembly and quality control at the Thailand Factory.
thanks for sharing.. I think most of us have this perception. I guessed it is not about what is made in where but rather what is the company's QC and standards etc ba..... =)
 

Foxshade

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Thks for sharing. V informative. Must be a daunting task to clean up after that 2.8 m flood.
 

RayDream

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Thanks for sharing, I suppose the slides are not confidential?
 

Simon_84

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My trip there changed my perception of Made in Thailand when I personally witnessed the assembly and quality control at the Thailand Factory.
i prefer to buy shoes that are made in thailand though more ex but quality much better than made in china.
that aside, i have confidence in the QC of nikon bodies manufactured in their thai factory.
 

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