Sendai factory media tour Q&A: currently Nikon makes 20k Z7 mirrorless cameras per month

Here is a translation of the Q&A sessions published by Myzaker after a media tour of the Nikon Sendai factory where the Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras are made:

Appendix: Q&A After Nikon Sendai Factory Visit

Q: What’s the Nikon Z7 production volume right now and what’s the yield?
A: Currently it’s 20k per month, the production yield target is of course 100%.

Q: We saw a lot of robots during the visit. What’s the percentage of automation for the Z camera production? Is it higher than the Nikon D series?
A: Currently our D5 automation percentage is about 55%, and the Z7 is 76%.

Q: Comparing to DSLR, the Z7 is smaller and more compact. What are the challenges in assembly?
A: The mechanical parts are about the same. Of course, newer parts are smaller, thus harder to assemble.

Q: For the new products, do they go through full quality check or spot check?
A: All products you see today are gone through full quality check. Some critical areas such as temperature and stability will have additional spot check.

Q: Is this the only assembly line? We notice a lot of brass debris, are they going to be recycled?
A: (long pause) What you saw today is the Z7 assembly line. Currently, the Nikon D5 and Df are on pause. We have another line for the film camera F6. A cleanroom is also in this shop. However, we didn’t visit the lens molding shop. By the way, metal debris from cutting will be processed by a specific recycling company.

Q: What the decision criteria for using stainless steel vs. brass or other material for lens mount?
A: Currently stainless steel is used for lens mount in high-end bodies like D5 and D850, also the Z7. Brass is used in consumer models like the D5300. Brass is used in lens mount usually, and some entry-level lenses have a plastic mount. Note that the lens mount in the body may not all use stainless steel. We base on how frequent lenses are taken on and off to decide (the mount material).

Q: Is Z6 going to be made here?
A: We will build Z6 here but right now we are working full speed to make the Z7!

Q: What are the main responsibilities for the Nikon Thailand Plant?
A: The machines in Thailand factory are designed in Sendai and assembled before shipping to Thailand. All the automated machines in Thailand currently are designed and produced in Sendai. Of course, there is independent development in Thailand. Also, the automation levels in Thailand and Japan are different as we consider the percentage of automation based on costs.

Q: Are all the parts made by Nikon? What percentage is the outsource parts, especially the CMOS (sensor)?
A: Parts made in Sendai include mounts, viewfinder lenses. Motherboards are also made in Sendai. About 80% of parts are purchased from outside companies. CMOS sensors are produced by our partner company based on Nikon’s requirements.

The original article is written by NT Image (China). The for the translation Jeff!

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