Technology

Kaneko Sangyo’s silent however essential valve know-how works behind the scenes

Are you able to give us a short introduction to your organization?

The intention of the tagline “silent know-how” relies on the standard Japanese type of theater known as kabuki. The crew in black known as kuroko who’s in control of the varied stage components, carrying black costumes to help the kabuki actors behind the scenes. Since we additionally work behind the scenes, we adopted the idea of kuroko and added the tagline silent know-how earlier than the corporate title “Kaneko”.

As a way to generate electrical energy by LNG or thermal energy technology to run air conditioners, the shafts and bearings of the producing generators should be continually shifting and oil is required to maintain this stuff operating easily. Our valves are utilized to manage the move of oil to this shaft. Thus, we’re contributing to run primary tools behind the scenes. 

 

Japan was once well-known for its shopper merchandise. In recent times, nonetheless, now we have seen the emergence of regional opponents with cheaper labor prices and big economies of scale, pushing Japanese corporations out of mass manufacturing markets. Nevertheless, together with your silent applied sciences, particularly in area of interest fields with high-mix-low-volume manufacturing, we nonetheless discover that Japanese corporations each chusho kigyos and enormous corporations have a dominant market share in know-how or clientele. How do Japanese corporations stay aggressive regardless of the stiff value competitors?

A big distinctive level of Japan’s enterprise construction is it’s composed of main corporations like Toyota, whereas greater than 90% are SMEs. The Japanese authorities supplies sturdy help to SMEs by organising an company beneath the Ministry of Financial system, devoted to nurturing the expansion of SMEs. Our founder got here from Niigata prefecture, and our firm continued as a specialist in fluid management units. Within the greater than 104 years of operating our enterprise, now we have skilled good and dangerous occasions. We have now survived as a result of now we have regularly focused on satisfying the wants of our shoppers as an alternative of pursuing revenue. Clients being glad with our merchandise implies that they acknowledge the worth of our merchandise, resulting in the gross sales and earnings which have allowed us to maintain going till now. 

Nevertheless, I believe it is vital for them to be extra energetic and search methods to contribute to satisfying the calls for of our shoppers. A drop or rise in our revenue is indicative of the satisfaction stage of our prospects.

The mindset of actively contributing towards our prospects’ satisfaction is embedded in our firm’s DNA. Because of this, now we have been in a position to run our enterprise for over a century. Even so, I’m anxious about whether or not we are able to proceed our progress as an SME due to the altering society.

 

Japan isn’t solely the oldest society on the planet, but it surely additionally has a damaging inhabitants progress charge, shedding round 5 million individuals each 5 years. The nation’s demographic state of affairs is creating two important challenges, particularly for SMEs. First, it’s tough to recruit new graduates as a result of stiff competitors within the labor market, making it a problem for gifted engineers to go on manufacturing data to the following technology. Secondly, fewer individuals means an ever-decreasing pool of home shoppers. How is your organization going through these two challenges brought on by Japan’s reducing demography?

Japan has at all times been an agricultural-based society. Since it’s an island nation, it has nurtured a tight-knit group. It’s like sitting round in a circle and following the chief. When the chief instructions the others to attend beneath the persimmon tree, individuals would wait. Nonetheless, ready obediently doesn’t at all times imply being rewarded with sufficient persimmon harvest. In like method, the vast majority of Japanese corporations have been passively following the federal government. With the current inhabitants of 120 million, the working inhabitants is barely round 40 million. We have now to completely reap the benefits of the working inhabitants from abroad to cowl the absence of progress for the nation.  It is rather necessary for the LDP, the ruling occasion, to vary its mindset and contemplate a brand new strategy to sort out Japan’s inhabitants downside. For our half, we’re creating new merchandise that consider the nation’s demographic decline and lack of workforce.  

 

You had been in a position to embrace digital applied sciences into the IoT of your APOSA merchandise with the intention to predict and management abnormalities earlier than they happen. Are you able to inform us extra in regards to the APOSA? What are a few of its benefits in comparison with different merchandise? Trying on the future, how will you combine automation and digital applied sciences into your supplied merchandise?

About digitization and anti-explosion know-how, our growth of APOSA, which includes digital applied sciences, is inspired by Japan’s Ministry of Financial system’s coverage towards creating sensible know-how. There’s a regulation in Japan for chemical and power vegetation to carry out total upkeep and inspection each 4 or eight years. The Three-Mile Island explosion within the US was resulting from an unclosed valve after upkeep, exhibiting that the upkeep posed some dangers. Having a maintenance-free atmosphere all year long is right. APOSA was designed for preventive upkeep. Like in well being check-ups the place they offer suggestions in line with one’s outcomes, APOSA screens what occurs within the fluid management and addresses small points earlier than they develop into a serious downside. 

Predicting and stopping points upfront entails analyzing massive information utilizing AI. We have now been creating APOSA for greater than eight years. It is rather difficult, particularly trying on the supplies and valves. It’s essential to compile massive information and carry out information evaluation via AI. I contemplate this massive information as an intangible asset, which is able to unfailingly ship a brand new worth to our firm. Japanese SMEs used to make use of their small improvements to develop merchandise at a lower cost. Nevertheless, that not applies to the current society. Intangible property have develop into crucial in an organization’s progress. Society and enterprise have modified. We have now transitioned from promoting merchandise to companies.



The COP26 rule guide was finalized final yr as to how the Paris Settlement would maintain international locations accountable for his or her capability to go carbon-neutral. The Suga administration introduced that Japan should be carbon-neutral by 2050. Mitsubishi Fuel Chemical is working carefully with ARAMCO of Saudi Arabia in creating various applied sciences like ammonia – a CO2-free various gasoline and a method to move hydrogen. How are you adapting your valves to the following technology of purposes within the chemical business? Are you searching for partnerships that might show you how to develop new merchandise?

A few of our staff have a mechanical engineering background, however we’d like digital engineers to include AI. Moreover the problem of recruiting digital engineers, it’s a problem to rent skilled ones who’re able to integrating AI. As a countermeasure, we’re actively looking for companions, home and abroad, who already make use of AI and digital applied sciences to create a related business. We should talk about our partnerships additional to harmoniously develop collectively. 

We have now made it our duty to increase the survival of the human race as a lot as we are able to. Mitsubishi Fuel Chemical’s ammonia is used to generate hydrogen because the power supply, and we offer our breather valves for his or her chemical tanks. When a chemical substances storage tank breathes, the small emission pollutes the air. The system the place a pipe collects such emissions can catch fireplace due to the flammable fluids. In accordance with the ISO laws, which emphasize taking preventive measures, the flame arrestor that now we have developed is a security machine towards such occurrences. We have now seemed into all of the potential dangers, and our flame arresters are one of many options to forestall fires in chemical vegetation. Our tools helps cease the unfold of fires to different areas. We conduct testing in our flame extinguishing experiment station and our merchandise reveal their effectiveness in fireplace prevention. The truth is, our product was used to make sure the security of a hydrogen charging station. Since there are dangers concerned in using renewable power sources like hydrogen, our shoppers and us want to concentrate on these dangers. Our firm goals to remove these dangers. 

SMEs are required to deal with security assurance through the use of a few of our assets. In our growth of latest merchandise for society, guaranteeing our merchandise’ security incurs prices. It’s crucial to have an total enterprise scheme to achieve stability. We will convert our secured revenue from massive information or intangible property to analysis and growth in addition to security assurance experimentation. With extra calls for and expectations from SMEs than up to now, I’m involved that Japanese SMEs might battle to outlive. 

 

Are you able to inform us extra about your worldwide technique? What are among the key areas that you just need to sort out sooner or later?

The Chinese language market is a really engaging market, however China might expertise the same state of affairs to Ukraine resulting from geopolitical causes. Centralizing our provide in China will be excessive threat. Though having a number of provide chains would require extra funding, it is going to be safer. We have to stability our assets to create a secure provide chain. Not like China, with extra superior testing, Japan has strict laws on Wi-Fi, radio transmission and drones. We are attempting to completely make the most of 5G and LTE in our chemical vegetation by creating wi-fi units that forestall explosions together with different added options. We’re collaborating with the numerous 5G and LTE producers in China to develop a know-how that’s adaptable to high-risk or hazardous areas. It’ll proceed to be our profitable market and a platform for experimentation, however we is not going to be placing all our assets into the Chinese language market. In Vietnam, now we have a manufacturing facility and a technical & gross sales middle. We moved the analysis and growth middle to Vietnam due to its many gifted younger engineers. There’s a excessive return for funding in Vietnam.

Nonetheless, Japanese engineers stand out in high quality management and administration of knowledge, which positively affect the companies and total enterprise. We should determine the strengths of every analysis middle to have the ability to distribute the work accordingly and ship a wonderful affect. The problem in Vietnam and different Asian nations is the dearth of dedication of the engineers, particularly after they obtain a greater wage supply. Subsequently, it’s essential for the employees to be glad with their jobs to assist them kind a loyal attachment to their work. If it was not for COVID, I might go to Vietnam to speak to the workers and higher perceive their motivations.

 

If we had been to come back again in 6 years in your one hundred and tenth anniversary, what would you want to inform us? What are your desires for this firm, and what would you prefer to have achieved by then?

As an SME, it’s crucial to evolve. We wish to be greater than a producer and vendor of valves. We additionally goal to supply distinctive companies. To do this, we have to set up a powerful connection between our merchandise and the brand new companies we offer. At the same time as a small firm, now we have a powerful affect and worth.

The rise in our gross sales demonstrates the improved satisfaction stage our prospects have with our services. We wish to incessantly encourage our staff as a result of it not directly influences the expansion of our firm and our energetic service to the group and society. 

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