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Vibrant SMEs of JAPAN

Pursuing independent R&D on vibration damping [Matsuda R&D]

Secret to Robustness
  • Keeps at cutting edge in research on vibration damping technology; also utilized in aerospace applications.
  • Proven performance through development of vacuum thermal insulation panels.
  • Concentrates on R&D, without deploying sales staff.

Matsuda R&D is engaged in designing and developing shipping containers and other transport containers. As well as having researched vibration damping technology for many years, Matsuda R&D is developing its business in new fields. President Shinji Matsuda, formerly an engineer at Honda Parts Laboratory (currently Honda Access), founded the company in 1982. Initially, Matsuda R&D was involved with authorized parts for motorcycles, but it gradually advanced into the vibration damping field. In the 1990s, the company designed boxes for postal delivery with a unique structure, and supplied them to post offices throughout Japan. The boxes were highly durable; Matsuda is proud that "even over a decade after we supplied them, they don't have any damage that necessitates replacement." The company no longer makes the boxes, but even now, it receives many requests to repair them.

Suspension used in Hayabusa

Since about a decade ago, Matsuda R&D has accelerated its R&D on vibration damping technology, developing air suspensions and metal suspensions. The metal suspensions are spherical structures made from several strips of stainless steel. A feature of the company's suspensions is that "they move in all directions, unlike casters, so they have a damping effect in all directions." This distinguishing feature is a strength of Matsuda R&D. The suspensions have been used to transport astronomical telescopes by a large camera manufacturer, earning them an excellent reputation, and in 2010, the company received an order from JAXA. The order was for boxes to transport Hayabusa sand-sample capsules to Japan from the landing site in Australia, when the Hayabusa planetary explorer returned to Earth. Since then, Matsuda R&D has received numerous inquiries regarding transport containers, and is developing air cargo containers, as well as supplying rail freight containers. Matsuda emphasizes that, for air cargo in particular, the company's containers "can be made much lighter than conventional ones."

R&D on vacuum thermal insulation panels bears fruit

Recently, Matsuda R&D has been engaged with not only suspensions, but vacuum thermal insulation panels as well. Its thermal insulation panels are made from thin stainless-steel sheets welded together, with glass pins about 6 mm in diameter at intervals of 200 mm between the sheets to minimize the area through which heat is lost. In addition, high thermal insulation is ensured by maintaining a vacuum inside. Even if the exterior is heated to about 80 degrees C, the rise in interior temperature is only about 2 degrees C, and the panel on the opposite side hardly increases in temperature at all. Conventional thermal insulation panels have urethane inside, but an issue with those is that moisture from the air gets inside the panels, enabling bacteria and moss to grow. By contrast, Matsuda has absolute confidence in his company's vacuum thermal insulation panels, which "are all-stainless, so they don't deteriorate even after ten years." The company has already received inquiries about automotive coating applications, and is working to make its panels bigger. Matsuda considers that: "They can also be used to transport items such as iPS cells and organs, which need to be kept at low temperature, so the market requiring these panels is large."

Matsuda describes his blueprint for the future: "For suspensions and vacuum thermal insulation panels, we'll soon create a big market, and our revenue is likely to increase substantially, too." Regarding suspensions, the company has developed elliptical steel ones that minimize cost while maintaining performance. Also, it has recently had an inquiry about suspensions to transport materials in the Antarctic, and is working on development for that. Developing products in line with customers' requirements is the wellspring of growth at Matsuda R&D.

Spherical metal suspension developed by Matsuda R&D

Spherical metal suspension developed by Matsuda R&D

One Point: Key Point is Foreign Market

Concentrating on R&D

Matsuda R&D concentrates its human resources on R&D, without deploying sales staff. That's because, if advanced technology is developed, inquiries from potential customers arrive naturally. The company's technological capabilities are well-known even among students, and when it recruited new graduates last year, "The difficulty was, our phone didn't stop ringing" (President Matsuda). The company's ceaseless R&D is the wellspring of its strength.

Company Data

President: Shinji Matsuda

President: Shinji Matsuda

Company name Matsuda R&D Co., Ltd.
President Shinji Matsuda
Industry Type Development of transport containers, etc.
Address 27-6 Miyamoto, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Printing day:April 8, 2014

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