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Leading the industry in heat treatment and surface processing of metals [Matsuyama Giken]

Secret to Robustness
  • Investment focused on coating business.
  • Development of coating technology to improve die durability.
  • Expansion of market to West Japan.

All metals undergo processing, such as heat treatment or rust-preventive coating, when they are used for products. Matsuyama Giken is comprehensively involved in heat treatment and surface processing. In 2012, the company developed a new coating technology for improving the performance of dies to give them ultra-long life, and installed production equipment accordingly. Matsuyama Giken is also focusing on the development of other new technologies.

The company’s new coating process involves forming a thin layer of titanium chrome aluminum nitride. This improves the durability of dies and tools by creating an alloy layer on their surface. The technology increases the adhesion between the surface layer and the die, making it suitable for use in press dies for high-tensile steel and dies for processes that involve difficult conditions.

The titanium nitride coating ordinarily used for dies withstands temperatures up to 500 degrees C, while a titanium aluminum nitride coating withstands up to 900 degrees C. In contrast, Matsuyama Giken's titanium chrome aluminum nitride coating is suitable for higher-temperature processes, up to 1,000 degrees C. In addition, the adhesion between the surface layer and the die is 2-3 times stronger than with titanium aluminum nitride.

Plant expanded and equipment upgraded

Matsuyama Giken has started using its new technology to process automotive press dies. In September 2012, the company added a two-story coating plant. The following year, it upgraded its cleaning equipment, to improve die cleaning performance prior to coating. Additionally, it increased the number of arc ion plating (AIP) coating systems employed to three. The new equipment is being used for the newly developed titanium chrome aluminum nitride coating process.

President Akio Matsumoto says emphatically: "Coating is our fastest-growing field. Our new investment has given us more room to grow. We will use it to develop new technologies."

Matsuyama Giken has four divisions for heat treatment, vacuum firing, coating, and surface processing. About 35% of its revenue comes from heat treatment, and 25% from surface processing. In heat treatment, automotive parts account for a high percentage of business. The company processes parts for CVTs and car air-conditioner compressors. It also receives many orders for construction machine, machine tool, aircraft, and robot components. Additionally, it handles rod ends for large passenger aircraft.

Currently, Matsuyama Giken is researching sulfurization. Forming a surface layer of iron sulfide on steel increases wear resistance. If moving parts do not require oil or grease, their applications increase dramatically. This process has already been used commercially for some parts, including car air-conditioner compressors, and hopes are high regarding further developments.

Accelerating R&D through a technology committee

To pursue such R&D on a companywide basis, Matsuyama Giken has established a technology committee. The main aim is to accelerate R&D on heat treatment and surface processing, and achieve value-added technologies that can contribute to society as well as the company's business. Another aim is to train junior engineers through development. The committee has nine members: the heads of three divisions, for heat treatment, vacuum firing, and coating, along with junior engineers, plus President Matsumoto. It makes plans for the short, medium, and long term, and reviews the state of progress with development every month.

Matsuyama Giken's predecessor was a heat-treatment business started in 1970, by Matsuyama Suki Industrial Cooperative. As mechanization of agriculture and construction progressed rapidly, the Cooperative was established to meet the need for heat treatment of machine components. In 1986, the heat-treatment business was transferred to Matsuyama Giken, which started vacuum firing that year, and then entered the surface processing field, beginning with cation electroplating, in 1988. Since then, the company has gradually expanded its scope; for example, it started a coating business in 2000.

Because the metal surface processing and heat treatment industry is equipment-intensive, hardly any new players enter it. Conversely, few players cease or change their business. In such an environment, differentiation from rivals is an important issue. Matsuyama Giken aims to win more orders by improving the external appearance of products, ensuring that heat treatment does not cause much distortion, and working to shorten delivery times. Also, to expand the market for its services, the company is stepping up its sales in Kyushu and other parts of West Japan, gaining new customers proactively.

Dies coated using technology from Matsuyama Giken

Dies coated using technology from Matsuyama Giken


Next target is West Japan

President Matsumoto is ambitious: “We expect Kyushu and other parts of West Japan, where the automotive industry is concentrated, will be a new potential market.” To date, the company's main markets have been the Nagano, Tokai, and Kanto areas. As well as working hard to publicize its expertise through trade shows, the company is proactive regarding partnerships with universities and activities by certification organizations. The keys to Matsuyama Giken's business growth will be new demand, captured through coating technologies, and R&D and training, pursued through the company's technology committee.

Company Data

President: Akio Matsumoto

President: Akio Matsumoto

Company name Matsuyama Giken Co., Ltd.
President Akio Matsumoto
Industry Type Processing of metal products
Address 1050 Nagase, Ueda-shi, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Phone 0268-42-4063

Printing day:August 7, 2014

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