On Wednesday 5th June 2019, Year 6 enjoyed a fabulous visit to the Nissan Plant in Sunderland. The day started with a traditional Japanese Daruma opening ceremony. Mrs Blair coloured in one eye on the Daruma head before we all signed it. The head would then watch over us for the rest of the day, bringing us good luck. Did you know that its colour, red, is a symbol of prosperity in Japan?
We knew more Japanese words than we thought – how many do you know?
samurai, sushi, kimono, sudoku, karaoke, ninja, honcho, bonsai, karate, aikido, rickshaw, sumo, Banzai, tycoon, kamikaze, tsunami, typhoon, origami, judo, Nissan, monozukuri
Karen, a Nissan employee, gave us a brief history of the company. Construction began on the Sunderland plant in 1984 and the Prince and Princess of Wales attended the opening ceremony in Japan. Interestingly, the brand was initially called Datsun. It has been producing cars since 1933; since then, over 97 million cars have been manufactured. Popular all over the world, Nissan cars are made across 5 continents: North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Today, Nissan produce 2250 cars every single day. In fact, 1 in 3 Nissan cars in the UK was made at the Sunderland plant.
During the morning, Year 6 learnt all about how cars are designed and produced. The entire process, from the initial idea to exportation takes 2 years! We had a go at designing our own cars out of Lego (see photos) before taking part in a production line to manufacture the Nissan Buddy. It was trickier than you may think! Just when we thought we had the hang of it, we were then asked to produce 2 cars at a time. In a group of 6, we each had our own very important roles to play.
After lunch, we were given a tour of one of Nissan’s Global Training Centres (GTC) by Josh. If you were to become a Nissan employee, this is where you might come to learn the necessary skills. There are numerous things to be learnt in the centre: welding; at temperatures reaching 1000 degrees, inspecting cars; in order to identify imperfections and fork-lift truck driving. One of the highlights of the tour was meeting Woody: one of Nissan’s robots. Performing around 95% of the jobs in the factories, there are over 1300 robots at Nissan. The company are always looking for ways to improve the production line make working conditions easier – in Japan this is known as Kaizen. Josh used a machine known as a pendant to program Woody; consequently, the robot drew a picture and wrote Dan’s name, which was pretty impressive!
Back in the training room, after watching a video entitled ‘the Journey of a Juke’, it was time for us to take part in some hands-on workshops.
Each team tried their hand at the following stations:
- Impact wrench
- Dent removal
- Finger training x2
- Gromit fit
To conclude the day, Karen and Jess handed out certificates and goody bags before asking us to take part in a traditional Japanese Pivo dance. Mikhail was chosen to colour in the remaining eye on the Daruma head, thus symbolising an end to a fun-filled and informative day.
Links to Articles 17, 28, 29