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Vibrant SMEs of JAPAN

A Machinery Manufacturer with the Advantage of an Integrated Production System [Iwaki Seiki]

Secret to Robustness
  • Builds up an integrated production system.
  • Improves productivity through division of work.
  • Enters renewable energy field.

Iwaki Seiki manufactures machinery and energy-saving equipment. Since its establishment in 1967, the company has consistently pursued customer-centric business emphasizing high quality, low cost, and fast delivery. In April 2013 with the aim of entering the renewable energy field, Iwaki Seiki opened its CA Center, to manufacture equipment for solar energy and wind energy projects.

From beansprouts to nuclear energy

Iwaki Seiki has striven for a well-balanced business, rather than depending too much on specific sectors or companies. That's because it wants to minimize the impact of changes in business environment. The company accepts orders for a variety of equipment, with applications ranging from semiconductors and LCD panels to the automotive and food industries. It has built up an integrated production system, covering all stages: design, development, manufacturing, testing, and on-site installation.

Iwaki Seiki makes built-to-order products that satisfy customers, through close coordination with customers from the design stage. Says President Kanjiro Kunii: "We receive many orders for one-and-only products, and their variety is large. We don't compromise until the customer is happy." That attitude has led to positive feedback through customers' word-of-mouth, building up the company's track record.

From the automotive industry, Iwaki Seiki receives a steady flow of orders for equipment for manufacturing lithium batteries, and testers for measuring tire and wheel alignment without having to remove tires from the wheel. In fiscal 2013, it delivered as many as 20 tire testers every month. In the food industry, the company was boosted by an order for a beansprout production line, to handle all stages from washing to packaging. Following the East Japan Earthquake, Iwaki Seiki supplied storage containers for contaminated soil from Fukushima. It has also received orders related to risk distribution and food safety in connection with that event. Despite the additional business, President Kunii has mixed feelings: "Given the state of progress with recovery from 3/11, I can't say I'm that happy."

Improving productivity through division of work

Iwaki Seiki can handle such a variety, from mass production of small precision components to large single items, because it has a subdivided production system and an extensive line-up of machine tools. The company has three centers in Iwaki. Each plant has equipment to match the products it makes, to improve productivity through subdivision of work. Iwaki Seiki's MA Center specializes in large-scale machining, welding, and coating. It has a large double-column, five-face machining center, spray coater, and drying kiln, to manufacture items such as motor cradles and large equipment frames. The FA Center is responsible for areas such as design, electrical assembly, trial operation, paneling, and testing; it has test equipment and clean rooms for processing precision components.

Entering renewable energy field

Meanwhile, the CA Center has been opened so Iwaki Seiki can enter the renewable energy field, which it expects to grow as a future business foundation. In addition to processing of solar panel cradles and wind turbine nacelles, the company has started to accept orders for work ranging from panel procurement to cradle installation. It has also established a division especially for this business, with 20 staff. To process large components, the company has introduced a large double-column, five-face machining center, large horizontal boring machine, and twister (material welder). The CA Center occupies a 20,000 m2 site, and has a total floor area of 6,800 m2. On the roof of the expanded new plant, Iwaki Seiki has installed a 250 kW solar panel facility, occupying about 2,400 m2, which handles about 30% of the CA Center's energy needs. The company has invested 1,250,000,000 yen in the building and equipment, utilizing public funds such as subsidies for businesses that contribute to industrial recovery in Fukushima. President Kunii is ambitious: "We will use the technologies we've built up so far to turn renewable energy, which has growth potential, into a new mainstay of our business."

Iwaki Seiki also receives requests from customers going into overseas markets, in line with the recent increase in offshoring. President Kunii intends to promptly achieve a balance between the company's activities in Japan and overseas: "We will also consider building offshore plants in regions such as ASEAN where growth is remarkable."

Solar panels at CA Center

Solar panels at CA Center


Prompt timing supports growth

Iwaki Seiki's strengths are its integrated production arrangements, supported by a diverse range of manufacturing equipment, and its production system for improving efficiency. The company has been able to adapt right away to changes in customers' needs for high precision and low cost, in line with the needs of the times. It has also succeeded in entering infrastructure industries such as automaking, and proactively advanced into new, growing markets such as renewable energy. Iwaki Seiki's growth has been supported by prompt timing and decisiveness on the part of President Kunii, who has accurately discerned changes arising in each era. Fukushima Prefecture is also increasing its concentration of companies and research institutes involved with renewable energy; this constitutes a favorable trend for Iwaki Seiki.

Company Data

President: Kanjiro Kunii

President: Kanjiro Kunii

Company name Iwaki Seiki Corp.
President Kanjiro Kunii
Industry Type Design and manufacture of equipment for FA and energy-saving
Address 1-11 Yoshima Industrial Park, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
Phone 0246-36-0118

Printing day:August 7, 2014

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