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Vibrant SMEs of JAPAN


Technology Amassed in the Pursuit of Precision Machining Technology for Difficult-to-Cut Materials [Frasco]

Secret to Robustness
  • Differentiating from Other Companies with Precision Machining of Difficult-to-Cut Materials.
  • Continuing Challenges to Establish Technology Without Fearing Failures.
  • Internet Based Sales of Titanium Material as a New Business.

Frasco's area of specialty is precision machining of difficult-to-cut materials such as titanium, tungsten, and molybdenum. According to Frasco President Koichi Fujiwara, Frasco is built on a spirit of challenge such that even if a material is turned down by other companies, "If it looks like it might be possible to cut it, we will try anything once." With that spirit of challenge, the company has refined its technical capabilities, and has amassed technology that enables it to respond to even precision requirements on the 10μm unit. President Fujiwara emphasized proudly, "There aren't very many places that can precision machine this large of a variety of difficult-to-cut materials."
Fujiwara Iron Works, Frasco's predecessor, was founded in 1973 by the current company president's father as a family-run business engaged in business such as the manufacture of machine parts for general industry. When the company was first founded, the factories of leading manufacturers were located nearby, and Fujiwara Iron Works obtained a steady stream of orders from those factories for the design and assembly of production equipment and devices, and for the manufacture of related parts. However, in the latter half of the 1980s, orders from leading manufacturers began to decline, and the company was forced to cultivate new business.

Focus on Quality is the Foundation for Manufacturing

In the midst of this, President Fujiwara was a high school student, and a fellow classmate told him, "Semiconductor related demand is going to increase from here." In 1990, the company began manufacturing parts for semiconductor production equipment. A major premise to this move was that the equipment function properly with the parts for production lines that the company had handled until then. However, with parts for semiconductor production equipment, even the slightest scratches on the surface were pointed out, and precision was required at a high level that had not been experienced to that point.
When the company first began fabricating parts for semiconductor production equipment, the company spent a considerable amount of time to meet the demands of customers. Reflecting on that period, President Fujiwara stated, "We made almost no profit, and the employees on the floor stated many times that it couldn't be done." However, through a process of trial and error, the company began to understand points to which it needed to pay extra attention, and according to President Fujiwara, "We no longer had to check from 1 to 10," and work efficiency also gradually improved. Currently, parts for semiconductor production equipment are Frasco's core business, and the know-how cultivated through that experience for maintaining high quality has become the company's foundation for product manufacturing.
Also, until then, the company had mainly handled iron, copper, and aluminum, but the material for semiconductor production equipment parts is primarily stainless steel. Thus, the machining technology for that material was improved through fabrication of those equipment parts. This stainless steel machining expertise would later be utilized in precision machining of difficult-to-cut materials. President Fujiwara believed that "if we could handle difficult-to-machine materials based on that technology, then we should be able to differentiate our company from the others," and with that thought in mind, the company focused its attention on technology to precision machine difficult-to-cut materials.

As Experiences, Failures Become Assets

According to President Fujiwara, machining of difficult-to-cut materials "requires technology that can be fully utilized with stainless steel and aluminum as a base." Frasco has experience and technical capabilities accumulated through a process of trial and error that was repeated in order to meet strict demands from customers. In order to advance with research into the machining of difficult-to-cut materials, "Our only option is to continue making attempts without fearing our failures," stated Fujiwara. If failure occurs, there is of course the cost of purchasing difficult-to-cut materials, and occasionally there are also other costs that are incurred due to damage to a cutting tool or such. Nonetheless, President Fujiwara emphasized the importance of this process and stated, "As experiences, failures also become assets." The technical capabilities of Frasco are now highly respected, leading to requests from cutting tool manufacturers for prototype demonstrations and the like.
Frasco's specialty is precision machining of difficult-to-cut materials, and according to President Fujiwara, "We were often told by customers that we didn't project the image of an iron works company," so in October 2004, the company name was changed to Frasco. Fujiwara explained that by adopting the name Frasco of the experimental tool as the company name, the company's corporate policy for the future of "wanting to focus on research and development" is also incorporated in the company name.
The newest NC grinding machine was introduced at Frasco in October 2013. President Fujiwara stated, "In the current era, stainless steel and aluminum can be easily cut even in foreign countries, so we want to focus on complex shape machining of difficult-to-cut materials as we move forward." Frasco also began Internet based sales of titanium material in 2012 as a new business. With this business, titanium material with guaranteed components is imported from China and then machined to order. Frasco intends to focus its strengths on sales in this area, and in the future, it will also examine other materials such as tungsten and molybdenum and expects to build this area as a new business pillar.

The processing parts of titanium

The processing parts of titanium


One Point: Key Point is Foreign Market

Connecting Technology to the Future

The demand for technology to precision machine difficult-to-cut materials, which is Frasco's specialty, is expected to further increase in the future. However, according to President Fujiwara, there are portions of this technology to precision machine difficult-to-cut materials that "cannot be manualized." Instead, this machining requires many years of experience and well-honed techniques. In order to ensure that this technology is passed down into the future, Frasco feels that it is vitally important to exchange information with the craftsmen themselves. Thus, President Fujiwara is focusing his efforts on creating an atmosphere within the company that will allow this type of information exchange to easily occur anywhere.

Company Data

President:Koichi Fujiwara

President:Koichi Fujiwara

Company name Frasco Co.Ltd.
President Koichi Fujiwara
Industry Type Manufacturing of precision machine parts, design and assembly of labor-saving machinery, design and fabrication of jigs and tools
Address 3743-2 Kishinoue, Iioka, Saijyo City, Ehime Prefecture
Phone 0897-56-7482

Printing day:December 26, 2013

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