MES Automation at Large-scale Food Factory to Create a Next-Generation Smart Factory

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NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS: A Pioneer in the Food Industry

NISSIN FOOD PRODUCTS CO., LTD. is a leading company in Japan's food industry. The company produces and sells instant noodle products, and is well known for launching the world's first instant ramen product ("Chicken Ramen") in 1958 and the world's first cup noodle product ("CUP NOODLES") in 1971.
NISSIN’s Kansai Factory in Shiga Prefecture is an all-new facility that began operations in October 2018, and it is the company’s main production factory for western Japan. The construction of this new factory was one of the initiatives undertaken by the company to achieve the goal of a 1 trillion yen market capitalization by the fiscal year 2020. It is one of the largest food factories in Japan, and is a next-generation smart factory that utilizes the latest in-house developed facilities and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to automate everything and ensure safety and security.

NISSIN’s Kansai Factory

NISSIN’s Products


Selection of Yokogawa as a Partner for the Launch of a Next-Generation Smart Factory

NISSIN’s Masahiro Hayashi, who was involved in the new factory construction project, looks back on the background of the project and the decision to select Yokogawa as a partner:

"One of the major reasons behind the decision to build the new factory was the aging of our Shiga Factory. It had been in operation for over 40 years and had no room for expansion. With sales steadily increasing, we could not stop manufacturing to rebuild this factory, so the decision was made to build an all new facility on an adjacent plot of land. This new factory is a next-generation smart factory that utilizes the latest IoT. Industry 4.0 was booming at that time.

Plans for the new factory called for the thorough automation of manufacturing lines and warehouse operations, for which we knew that a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) would be essential. Even though we had not yet had time to make a budget proposal to management for the construction of the new factory, we knew we had to find an MES vendor who could partner with us on this project. Many of the people in our industry mentioned that they were working with Yokogawa, so we approached them.
In our first meeting, I showed the Yokogawa people a system configuration diagram for the new factory, and they gave us a serious assessment of what would be needed to realize it. It was clear from their accurate advice that they had a lot of experience, and I intuitively understood that they were more than just an MES vendor. We were unanimous in our decision to choose Yokogawa as the system implementation partner for the new factory ."

Mr. Masahiro Hayashi
Mr. Masahiro Hayashi


Co-creation of the Basic Design for the New Factory

On-site interviews to understand operations

To gain a better understanding of NISSIN's manufacturing operations, Yokogawa personnel made repeated visits to the company's Kanto Factory over a one-month period to collect information from NISSIN's employees. This covered not only the individual noodle-making processes but also operations in other departments such as manufacturing planning, quality assurance, and warehouse management. Yokogawa worked closely with NISSIN's project team, which was led by Takuya Hashimoto. As a result, Yokogawa identified 71 challenges at this factory that would need to be addressed in the design of the new Kansai Factory.

Formulation of the new factory's basic design

The project team and Yokogawa subsequently began working on the basic design of the new factory. The team created an overall workflow for the new factory and a detailed workflow for each process, discussed with vendors the linking of their equipment to PLCs, examined the requirements and division of functional roles for all core factory systems, and created documents such as progress schedule charts. Construction of this next-generation smart factory began in June 2017, and the facility opened on schedule in October 2018.

Mr. Takuya Hashimoto
Mr. Takuya Hashimoto


Core Automation Solutions at the Kansai Factory

  • Yokogawa's Manufacturing Execution System (MES)  for food & beverage factories automatically supervises operations throughout the Kansai Factory. The MES creates detailed operation orders based on a manufacturing plan that is linked to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. 
  • The warehouse management system helps automate the factory's logistics. Materials such as ingredients and cups are automatically delivered to manufacturing lines from an automated warehouse using automatic guided vehicles (AGVs).
  • All production lines, including the automatic weighing equipment, are automatically controlled by linking the operating orders and the actual operating parameters with the equipment control PLCs. Data on actual results are collected automatically. 
  • All material inventories are centrally managed.
  • The plant information management system allows supervisors to keep track of the status of manufacturing operations without having to go on site.
  • The operational status of the entire factory is centrally monitored by operators in the Nissin Automated Surveillance Administration (NASA) control room.

These solutions have automated most operations, allowing employees to focus on higher-level tasks.

System Configuration


NASA control room
NASA control room


The Next Challenge of Utilizing Data for Continuous Improvement

Takahiro Enomoto, the chief production officer at NISSIN and the leader of the new factory construction project, had the following to say about future challenges:

"With this project, we were able to realize all the functions of a next-generation smart factory that we had envisioned. While huge amounts of data are collected each day at the Kansai Factory that are analyzed to make improvements, I think more can be done in this area. Our work has not ended with the construction of this factory, and we will continue to pursue ways to improve efficiency. I look forward to continued close collaboration with Yokogawa, a company that well understands our manufacturing processes."

Mr. Takahiro Enomoto
Mr. Takahiro Enomoto


Site area 99,865 square meters
Total floor area 118,108 square meters
Building size 300 m x 150 m


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