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May 11, 2017

Toyota’s new Michigan R&D center opens doors to plastics suppliers

Toyota’s $154 million expansion to their existing R&D center in Ann Arbor, Michigan will reel in a vast amount of its product development to one campus. Toyota’s build-out is an effort to streamline their production and make it even easier to work with its key suppliers.

Deb Schroeder, who manages the interior and exterior parts purchasing division says that this new in-house production will be vital to the evolution of the auto industry, as it is moves toward autonomous and driver-assisted technology. As these cars evolve, the interiors will need to as well, meaning Toyota will be constantly redesigning their vehicles to integrate the new electronics and changing the look and feel of the cars. This is where a 290,000-square-foot prototype development center for in-house 3D printing will come in handy.

Toyota will even be able to mock up an entire production line with their new plastics facility. “The Interior experience is changing” Schroeder said.

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