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Nikon 1 Series China Factory Tour - Joshua Waller travels to Shanghai China with Nikon UK to see the Nikon 1 Factory.
Located 2 hours from Shanghai, the Nikon Imaging China factory is surrounded by high tech manufacturing companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, Lite-on, Konica Minolta, and others, and is where they manufacture the new Nikon 1 series cameras and lenses, as well as other Nikon Coolpix cameras and components.
The site features four main factory areas: manufacturing, a car park, coach car park (for the 130 buses used to bring over 8000 people to and from work) and further land available for the factory to double in size, should production increase dramatically in the future.
The parts processes include spherical lens, aspherical lens (glass molding), plasticing moulding, parts painting and parts printing and colouring, as well as assembly of digital cameras (Nikon1, Coolpix), interchangeable lenses (for Nikon1) and lens units for Nikon compact digital cameras.
Due to the manufacture of high precision items, the factory is extremely clean with all visitors and staff wearing white plimsoles, hats and masks. Each section entrance has a sticky floor that you have to walk on whenever entering an area to ensure no dirt is brought in.
The Nikon 1 J1 uses 75% of the camera assembly facility, with 25% of the same room dedicated to assembley of the Nikon 1 V1. Each camera features a large number of parts, with the J1 being made up of 183 pieces, the V1 195 parts, and similarly the lenses are made up of a large number of parts, with the 10-30mm lens having 172 pieces.
The Nikon Nikkor 1 lenses are assembled at the factory, with the glass elements being ground by high precision machines, and each step of the process is quality checked with any rejected glass being binned. At the end of the assembly process the lenses are tested using a test chart on a Nikon 1 camera.
Plastic molding - manufacture of all the plastic parts also happens here with the various colours being made and painted on site. The white Nikon recessed logo is even hand painted, with other parts of the camera and lenses being screen printed.
The factory is run 5 days a week with a day shift from 8am to 5pm (1hr lunch, 10 minute breaks), as well as a night shift from 8pm to 8am. The staff are 90% women, which we were told is quite common in manufacturing in China. There is also room for expansion within the current buildings for production of additional cameras if needed.
The factory is also responsible for manufacture of lens units for other Nikon cameras and they make the new Nikon Coolpix S8200, S1200pj, P300, L24 and L23 there as well.
More on Nikon here:
Nikon 1 Series Questions and General Nikon Q&A.