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A look inside Nikon's Sendai digital SLR factory  
Friday, October 5, 2007 | by Rob Galbraith
In August 2007, Nikon invited technology journalists from around the globe - including us - to take part in the D3 and D300 launch announcements in Tokyo, as well as tour the company's Sendai, Japan manufacturing facility where the D3 is being built.
 
At the time, D3 bodies were being assembled at a rate of about 400 per day , but this was expected to grow to about 600 per day in September 2007 for a planned ongoing production of 12,000 units per month. A D3 is comprised of about 2000 individual components.

Nikon's Sendai factory opened in 1971 and employs over 1100 full-time and temporary workers. In addition to the D3, Sendai has produced the D2Xs, D2X, D2Hs, D2H, D100, D1X, D1H and D1. Except at the busiest times, Sendai runs a single eight-hour shift per day.
 
Nikon's factory in Thailand, which handles the production of the D40, D40X, D80, D200 and now the D300 (plus certain lower-priced lenses), operates round the clock in three eight-hour shifts and employs about 15,000 people. Assembly of the D300 was also expected to be in full swing in September, at which time 60,000 units of the midrange digital SLR were to be made each month.
 
While at Sendai Nikon, no pictures were allowed to be taken inside factory buildings, but Nikon has now supplied us with photos showing some of the manufacturing activities we saw when there, including the D3 being assembled. Those photos are below.
 
sendai_d3_assembly_wide.jpg
Building Excitement: The D3 assembly area at Nikon's Sendai factory. Nikon employs cell-based production techniques in the creation of their new flagship digital SLR (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
sendai_d3_assembly_medium.jpg
Almost Done: A D3 body nears completion (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
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Hands-On: Roughly 2000 parts go into a D3 (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
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Space Age: Workers receive an air shower before entering a sensor clean room (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
sendai_cleaning_sensor.jpg
Buff Up: A D3 CMOS sensor being cleaned before installation into the camera (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
sendai_shutter_assembly.jpg
Good Exposure: The shutter assembly area (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
sendai_shutter_testing.jpg
Click, Click: A shutter being tested (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
sendai_tip_mount_machine.jpg
Shine On: Circuit board production in action (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
sendai_lens_mount_processed.jpg
Bling: Nikkor lens F-mount rings during a later stage of manufacturing (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
sendai_lens_mount_processor.jpg
The Grind: A worker operates a metal NC lathe, one of the many machines and steps involved in the making of F-mounts for both camera and lens (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
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Heavy Metal: The F-mount production area (Photo courtesy Nikon)
 
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