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The little pieces of the big picture Kanto Electronics Corporation

Website: Kanto Electronics CorporationExternal site: a new window will open
Category: Japanese Machinery

A unique company

With many CEOs around the world obsessively focusing on the big picture, some of the key details can be lost. And it's on those crucial stepping-stones that Kanto Electronics Corporation (KEC) places its focus. Also known as Katoro, the Chiba-based electronics manufacturer specializes in the assembly of product parts along with the creation of assembly machines.

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Katoro CEO Tadayoshi Seki

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Feeder that separates bottle caps

Parts feeders

This process is made possible by Katoro's sorting machines, called parts feeders. The machines have been specially designed to sort out one kind of part from another. Variations include the bowl feeder, which handles most parts except for springs-which are sorted in a specialized spring feeder.

"All you have to do is dump the parts into the feeder," explains CEO Tadayoshi Seki. "It saves the workers the stress of checking and turning over each individual piece."

A rich history

Seki's father established Katoro in 1963, initially as a manufacturer of cathode-ray tubes for television sets. "In 1964, the Tokyo Olympics increased the demand for color television, and many companies mass-produced color TV sets," says Seki. "That allowed us to produce and sell more tubes." The television industry moved on from cathode-ray tubes to transistors, and thence to the semiconductors used today. But far from falling behind the times, Katoro has kept ahead of the curve.

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Tiny smartphone parts sorted by Katoro's parts feeder

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Katoro's spring feeder

Going global

As a result, Katoro has built a base of loyal clientele across industries ranging from cosmetics to electronics and auto. Inquiries have come in from as far afield as France and Mexico. "The parts are used in products exported to other countries, so we can't keep track of where our name ends up," Seki laughs.

With plans to expand into Indonesia this year, the company aims to go global. "My dream is to sell our services direct to Germany and America," he confides. And with Katoro currently developing a pharmaceutical feeder on the request of Bosch, Seki's dream seems on the verge of reality.