Meet Japanese Companies with Quality
Automatic generation Kodensha Co., Ltd.
Website: Kodensha Co., Ltd.
Category: Japanese Machinery
A new business every 30 years
Factory automation specialist Kodensha is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Over its 96-year history, it has renovated its business several times to fit the changing needs of customers. In its first incarnation, Kodensha spent some 30 years manufacturing motors for agricultural equipment, before producing control panels over the following three decades. And for the last 30 years, the firm has been developing automation and laborsaving equipment, particularly for producers of electronic components and auto parts. Now, customers are demanding automation with ever increasing flexibility, precision and capability.
President Hiroo Suzuki is positioning his company to provide for such changing needs. "We want clients to bring us their concerns," he says. "We want to help them find automated solutions they might never have thought possible." Kodensha's solutions combine know-how in robotics, image processing and mechatronics with extensive experience working with some of Japan's largest manufacturers of auto parts, electronics, and most recently, pharmaceuticals.
Made to order
Kodensha has created a niche in providing custom-made automation equipment. "Standardized automation equipment exists on the market," explains Hiroshi Nohara, general manager of the Marketing & Development Division, "but it can be full of unnecessary functions or difficult to use." Kodensha builds equipment exactly according to each customer's desires. Unlike many other companies in the industry, Kodensha handles complete assembly of its equipment-with 60 percent of components made in-house.
Suzuki encourages employees to consider the essential purpose behind each customer's request. "Otherwise," he explains, "we'd just be making something they could have come up with themselves." Kodensha built a specialized manufacturing solution for one publicly traded company that was radically different from existing alternatives. The firm's experts meshed machines with robotic devices that moved in unpredictable ways to assemble the product. So unusual and efficient was the system that the client's CEO stopped stunned on a tour of the factory floor to watch it work. Suzuki sees these creative solutions as Kodensha's forte, utilizing robotics equipped with human-like sensory functions for the more advanced production tasks.
Kodensha recognizes that its workforce of approximately 100 employees should be familiar with all aspects of the company. To that end, study sessions are organized which bring together members from different departments. Suzuki believes employees can use these to evaluate the impact of their work on other departments, as well as to hone their presentation skills to aid future communication with customers.
Just as technology has brought driverless cars ever closer to reality, Suzuki believes fully automated production lines are on the way. Kodensha is braced and ready for the next 30 years-whatever they might bring.
Website: Kodensha Co., Ltd.