Story 05

“Ota-ku” the town of Japanese pride and manufacturing
Machinery that supports the skills of TAKUMI craftsmen

August 5, 2019

Machinery that supports the manufacturing site of TAKUMI craftsmen

There are more than 3,000 factories in Ota-ku, Tokyo. More than 80% of these companies operate with less than ten employees. The range of products manufactured is extensive, but one feature these products share is the 0.001 mm ultra-precision. These products/parts are essential components for rockets and Shinkansens (bullet train).
With many supporters from around the world, Ota-ku remains the heart of Japanese manufacturing. We interviewed Nakai Seimitsu, an 80-year-old company that represents the craftsmanship and skill of Japanese manufacturing.

Founded in 1937, Nakai Seimitsu specializes in precision machining centered on bearing parts using NC automatic composite lathes. Eighty years since its establishment, Nakai Seimitsu always pursues ultra-precision machining. Machinery and equipment have changed over the years, starting from a potter’s wheel to a cam-type, then automatic lathe, and NC automatic composite lathe. Nakai Seimitsu has been purchasing NC automatic lathe manufactured by Citizen Machinery Co., Ltd. for the past 40 years from Marubeni Techno-Systems. Marubeni Techno-Systems is a distributor of Citizen Machinery. We interviewed Citizen Machinery and Nakai Seimitsu to better understand the role of Marubeni Techno-Systems in the field.

Masaki Konuma, Manager of the Automotive Body Assembly Machinery & Machine Tools Division, Marubeni Techno-Systems, is in charge of the Nakai Seimitsu account. Mr. Konuma worked with the first company to manufacture lathe machinery in Japan. He is an experienced specialist in the field of lathe machinery.

Mr. Konuma says, ” Nakai Seimitsu started purchasing lathe machinery when NC automated functions were added to lathe machines.”

The NC lathe machines used at Nakai Seimitsu, are Citizen Machinery products, which Marubeni Techno-Systems is a distributor.
“There is machinery made by other companies in the factory. Thanks to Marubeni Techno-System’s high proposal capabilities, Citizen Machinery’s products are easier to use and install compared to other manufacturers,” Mr. Nakai, President of Nakai Seimitsu said.

Machines evolve day by day, and the latest NC automatic composite lathes have a wide variety of options. What functions and choices we choose affects the type of work we can perform.
The tolerance and precision level we work at its highest level. Using the same machine, depending on the craftsman, what can be made is different. There have been instances where a newer version of the same machine could not produce the same product as before.
Marubeni Techno-Systems must make proposals that not only fulfill our client’s requirements but also allow for future expansion and flexibility. For this, sales must have a deep understanding of the equipment, technology, and industry to communicate at the same level as our clients.

“To select the optimal equipment and options, we work closely with President Nakai when purchasing and proposing new equipment,” Mr. Konuma says.

Failure is not an option in our proposals.

Marubeni Techno-Systems goal is to have all parties in a win-win situation. Manufacturers develop new and better equipment. Marubeni Techno-Systems ensure that clients correctly understand the potential and specifications of new machines. Our clients purchase new equipment to produce new and better products, leading to new business for Marubeni Techno-Systems, a WIN-WIN ecosystem.

There are many steps in the decision process until final specifications are determined. Accurate initial information helps speed the finalizing of specifications.
“From the perspective of a manufacturer, Mr. Konuma is extremely knowledgable of our products. Mr. Konuma will often finalize specifications before handing the account to us, this makes our job much easier,” says Mr. Kanaizumi, Citizen Machinery.

“It is essential to understand what the client requires and what specifications they need.
Our customers are making a big purchase, and my proposal mustn’t “FAIL” the client,” states Mr. Konuma.

Craftsman that utilize 120% of the machines potential

The characteristics of Nakai Seimitsu’s manufacturing are high precision, high quality, and low volume orders. “Clients repeatedly come us because they know that we can handle the most difficult products to manufacture. We take orders from 1 unit to several 1000. We have never had clients complain of our work, we have zero tolerance for mistakes,” says Mr. Nakai

Even if you use the same machinery to make a product, the quality and value of the product produced heavily varies. It is a profession that is all about experience, skill, and craftsmanship.

“Citizen Machinery provides the same machine to our clients, but machines are only tools. The way the tools are used heavily differs depending on the client. I believe that it is companies as Nakai Seimitsu that utilize 100% to 120% of the machine’s potential. Also, Mr. Konuma of Marubeni Techno-Systems updates us after delievery. I believe that Mr. Konuma’s thorough after-sales follow-up, is crucial in maintaining high quality for companies as Nakai Seimitsu,” states Mr. Kanaizumi.

The Manufacturer, Client, and Marubeni Techno-Systems must work together, leveraging on each party’s strengths, to produce high-quality products. This formation creates continuous business, and it is part of Marubeni Techno-Systems to be part of this system.