HORIBA BIWAKO E-HARBOR goes into full operation

|   Press Release

Aiming for creativity, high quality and speed in order to innovate manufacturing

Aiming for creativity, high quality and speed in order to innovate manufacturing

HORIBA has completed the construction of HORIBA BIWAKO E-HARBOR at its site in Shiga Prefecture, in the Kyoto-Shiga area where the HORIBA Group is headquartered. This is the largest development and production site on the west coast of Lake Biwa and the aim is to enhance HORIBA”s domestic production and development, along with its global competitiveness. Construction started on April 24, 2014. The gradual transfer of operations started in October 2015 and on May 23, 2016, HORIBA held the opening ceremony as the site went into full operation.

HORIBA aims to promote integrated structural innovation in sales, development, design, production and services in the field of gas measurement, including emission measurement systems, our core product. HORIBA also aims to realize institutional continuity and innovation of our core technologies in Japan, where HORIBA has achieved our accumulated expertise and know-how. In addition, by organically integrating design and production to better respond to the variety of specifications required by each customer and by introducing a new production method, HORIBA targets doubling production capability and shortening delivery time to one-third. HORIBA BIWAKO E-HARBOR has an area of approximately 27,500 square meters, and 10 floors of steel-frame structure above ground. The total investment, including the construction costs, was approximately 12 billion yen.

Consolidating development, design, and production operations of gas measurement equipment at a single location

HORIBA”s gas measurement technologies are used in many of HORIBA”s major products including the MEXA series emission measurement systems, which have earned the position of the world”s top brand, and stack gas analyzers. As part of the structural reforms undertaken in 2011, HORIBA integrated the Gas-Measurement Development departments in the Automotive and Process & Environmental Instruments & Systems segments. HORIBA aims to accelerate new product launches and make production more efficient by organically integrating development, design and production processes. The next generation of engineers play the major role in transferring HORIBA”s core technologies, which have been developed in Kyoto over the past 70 years, to the new location. They absorb their predecessors” expertise and know-how, and promote innovation in order to transfer technologies and optimize productivity. HORIBA calls this transfer project the ”transfer of our altar of technology,” and aims to transform it into a drive towards technological innovation. Going forward, after the transfer, the Head Office is scheduled to undertake capital investment in order to enhance technological capabilities in the Development and Production departments of the Scientific, Medical and Process & Environmental (water quality measurement) Instruments & Systems segments.

New production methodology to shorten delivery time to one-third and to double production capability

HORIBA's analyzer mechanisms, acting as the vital center of gas measurement, are the essence of HORIBA's own high-precision, high-speed-response technologies that determine the performance of measurement equipment. They are all manufactured in-house. In the recent years, in the midst of an increase in the types or varieties of gas in demand at manufacturers, and diversification of the measuring environment, HORIBA has responded to requirements of various specifications and requests for shorter delivery times. HORIBA will consolidate the component assembly processes, which have been dispersed in various locations, on a single floor, eliminate stagnation of components and materials as inventory or delayed in transportation processes, and build a speedy and flexible system supporting product shipment. By adopting more fluent processes from order intake to delivery, HORIBA aims at doubling production capability and shortening delivery time to one-third, in addition to enhancement of product quality.

Establishment of E-LAB in order to strengthen the development and engineering

The E-LAB has started operation. This is a site set up to integrate all of the information and application development projects underway at eight development testing facilities for automobiles around the world. E-LAB will promote demonstrations for clients, and the development of products and applications. By offering comprehensive engineering services from sales to development, production, and maintenance, HORIBA will pursue more creativity, higher quality and speed and further enhance our competitiveness in the global market.

About the factory site

In 1969, HORIBA acquired approximately 59,000 square meters of land for production facilities. In 1994, the foundations for building such a plant were completed. In May 2009, Biwako Plant (the current E-ISLAND) started operation in order to enhance the production of large-scale equipment in Japan, and in order to make the whole HORIBA Group”s logistics more efficient.

Major development and production sites in Japan

ShigaAutomotive: Exhaust gas analyzers
Environment: Stack gas analyzers, Air-pollution analyzers
KyotoSemiconductors: Mass flow controllers, Chemical-solution concentration monitors, Semiconductor sensors
Environment: Water -quality measuring instruments
Medical: Hematology analyzers, Blood glucose analyzers
Science: pH meters, Particle-size distribution analyzers, X-ray analyzers
Kumamoto (Aso)
*Mass-production plant
Semiconductors: Mass flow controllers
Medical: Hematology analyzers, Testing reagents


Address1-15-1 Noka, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture
Lot area59,694 square meters
Heavy-equipment area6,988 square meters
Total floor area27,543 square meters
Scale and structure10 floors above ground, steel-frame structure
PurposeDevelopment, design, assembly, adjustment and examination of measuring instruments
Scheduled number of employeesApproximately 600 (including part-timers and external employees)

Outline of President Atsushi Horiba's address

At this new location, we enhance our manufacturing, undertaken in Kyoto for 70 years since the company's establishment. With the slogan “transfer of our altar of technology”, our next generation of engineers have succeeded in this transfer with the advice of their predecessors. We will develop our emission-measurement technologies further, including those for the MEXA series, that commands the global market share of 80%. We will also enhance the unique technologies and businesses of HORIBA's five business segments, and realize the business development that is only possible with HORIBA. This is a flagship factory that will lead HORIBA's future growth in both technology and production, finally completed 50 years after we acquired the site.

HORIBA's passion as seen in HORIBA BIWAKO E-HARBOR

Where does the name E-HARBOR come from?

The “E” in HORIBA BIWAKO E-HARBOR stands for the various benefits HORIBA is aiming to achieve at this new facility. This is a flagship factory that will be a home base for production driving HORIBA Group factories worldwide.

  • Engineering – Product engineering for renovation of development, ordered design and production
  • Environment – Environmentally-friendly factory built at a site by Lake Biwa
  • Engagement – Strengthening mutual communication and commitments with clients, and cross-segment linkages
  • Enhancement – Improving product quality, human resources and production capabilities
  • Energy system – Offering high-end emission analysis systems

Unique feature of the building: the SKY ATRIUM

We put the Sky Atrium, a large staircase with a communication space, in the center of the building. Employees moving around by the staircase will have chances to communicate actively with others. It is also good for the health, an environment by Lake Biwa, where everyone can work in good health and safety. The administration floor is located on the middle floor, so that quick access is guaranteed to the development, design and production areas, boosting communication. The plant is also environmentally friendly, with initiatives including recycling the energy omitted from the air conditioners, and LED lighting.

Optimizing the production line and synergy with cooperating production companies

We aim to shorten the delivery time between receiving orders and shipping, creating a start-to-end production line integrating HORIBA and cooperating production companies. We build up a production process that is not subject to backlogs, cutting down on the stock carried and on logistics costs during the production process, as well as on operational downtime and the time required for arrangements to be made.

E-LAB: a development testing facility for automotive

  1. We have three areas that are used as experimental labs for development testing for automobiles. Each lab can host a wide range of development tests on automobiles: exhaust-emission measurement tests and development tests on engines, transmissions, electric motors and batteries for hybrid cars. We will work on product and application development to measure exhaust emissions parameters, and power and other parameters at higher levels of precision.
  2. Customers can have first-hand experience of HORIBA's products, with our expansive range of demonstrations.
  3. The laboratories, located in eight locations across five countries (Japan, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China) will be networked to enable information-sharing and global development.
  4. By design, the inside of the construction appearance can be reviewed inside the labs. The design intends to communicate HORIBA's technological expertise, which can offer not just individual measuring instruments but also an entire system catering to our customers' needs.