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One Piece At A Time

On the production floor, the whole production process starts with a blank circuit board. This is inserted into Panasonic’s proprietary mounting machines, which will automatically mount all the components and then solder them to the board.

It’s quite impressive seeing whole rolls of components just waiting for the automated mounting machine to pick them up and plonk them down on the circuit board. I’ve never seen Intel chipsets housed in plastic rolls before, but that’s exactly what was being fed into the machines in Kobe.

After the circuit boards are finished, they move onto the production lines where a plethora of workers start the arduous task of actually building the ToughBooks. Panasonic employs both assembly line and cell based building methods. The cell based building method has one individual building machines from start to finish, rather than doing a single job and passing it onto the next person. This is very rare in any kind of factory these days, but it would appear that Panasonic isn’t scared of doing things a bit differently.

To finish things off you can add a splash of colour to the ToughBook Executive line. Panasonic has started offering colour options for the lids for customers ordering from its website. This option will be rolled out to UK customers very soon, when the ToughBook online shop goes live.

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