The artisans behind mass production Matsubara Reed Ltd.

Website: Matsubara Reed Ltd.External site: a new window will open
Category: Japanese Machinery

From cotton mills to machining metal

The metal reed is a tool that's essential to almost every aspect of our modern lives. Products that are made using the metal reed are high precision metal meshes and silk screens. They are used in printing electronic components such as printed circuit boards. They're indispensable in the mass production of every woven material that human beings create. Matsubara Reed Ltd. in Matsubara City, Osaka, is one such company that produces these reeds.

The company was founded in 1976 to produce reeds for the Tsukiyama family's cotton fabric business. While the family no longer has the cotton business, Shigeki Tsukiyama is now the second-generation head of the Matsubara Reed company. He not only continues to produce reeds but also pushes the boundaries of what's possible with the precision metal pieces.

Shigeki Tsukiyama, president of Matsubara Reed Ltd.

Each piece is checked and rechecked to ensure a precision finish

A completed reed

Precision pieces crafted by hand

Unlike the items made with the reeds, the reeds themselves are all crafted by hand. It's a time-consuming and intricate process. Each piece needs to be perfectly finished and accurate to the smallest detail to ensure they meet the specific needs of the companies that rely on them.

Because there's no unified standard, each customer provides the density and measurements they require to Matsubara Reed who then designs each reed-assembled and finished by hand-to those exacting specifications. The jobs done by the craftsmen in the company are not particularly unique, but the intricate nature of the work means it can take up to ten years to truly master the process.

International artisans

It is this dedication, attention to detail and precise assembly that sets the company's products apart from those of their competitors. The staff members are artisans who take great pride in their work. They assemble reeds of the highest quality and do so unwaveringly. Their experience and knowledge is a vital resource for developing and improving their reed designs.

Matsubara Reed is currently looking to expand their business globally due to an increasing demand for woven meshes and fabrics around the world. They have clients in India, China and parts of Europe, and are also looking to develop interests in Southeast Asia. So far, the response has been positive, and overcoming challenges with international customers has led them to improve on their handcrafted precision products even further.

Reed-making is an intricate task that can take up to ten years to master