Pushing pistons as performance parts Ohmura Seisakusho Co., Ltd.

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Category: Japanese Machinery

Production in jeopardy

Sometimes the toughest challenges can make the best opportunities. Such was the case with Ohmura Seisakusho Co., Ltd. The metal-component manufacturer, founded in 1930 and based in Saitama Prefecture, had based much of its business for decades around supplying pistons to a famous Japanese motorcycle company. When the motorcycle maker decided to move its factory and part-sourcing overseas, the outlook could've been pretty gloomy for Ohmura Seisakusho.

Ohmura Seisakusho CEO Takao Ohmura

The underside of Ohmura Seisa-kusho's high-performance piston

New horizons

But third-generation CEO Takao Ohmura says he has now realized how valuable that setback proved to be. "When we were part of the supply chain, we weren't able to look around and see what other needs there were in the market. We were under constant pressure to improve quality while also keeping costs down. This had the effect of turning our pistons into a world-class product."

Finding a niche

Ohmura Seisakusho recently partnered with an American trading company to handle U.S. marketing and sales activity. That company saw the potential in Ohmura's pistons and helped identify a small but exciting niche in the world of racing. The first test was replacing the pistons in a 1972 Motto Guzzi V7 racing motorcycle in Florida. Ohmura recalls with a smile how the racer soon won first place after installing Ohmura Seisa-kusho's state-of-the-art component.

With its U.S. partner, Ohmura Seisakusho then turned to racing aircraft. An Arizona client had a Yakovlev Yak-52 Russian propeller plane and each of the Chinese-built engine's nine pistons was swapped for Ohmura Seisakusho's custom-built pistons. The effect was startling with engine power shooting up immediately by 20 percent. Ohmura points out the original pistons were poorly designed with varying weights, while his company's are all a standard size, a contributing factor to such an impressive performance.

Workers inspect parts for quality control

An automated production machine built in-house

Both custom-design and mass-production

While Ohmura Seisakusho continues to explore possibilities in the field of racing, the company remains heavily engaged in its two mainstay manufacturing lines of business. One involves making specialized custom parts such as for jet and rocket engines. End users include Japan's space agency JAXA, which just goes to show the stellar quality of Ohmura Seisakusho's product. Meanwhile, the firm also mass-produces metal components, particularly fuel injector parts for diesel engines and parts for automobile compressors.

An amusement park for ideas

Ohmura Seisakusho's know-how even extends to designing and building the specialized machines it uses for part production. Until now, Ohmura Seisakusho has only set up such automated production lines for in-house use, but Ohmura says he may begin to offer the machinery to customers. This ties into his greater goal for the company-to utilize its know-how and make of it "an amusement park for the production of customer concepts." Ohmura encourages inquiries about any difficulties or troubles with component production. "We don't mind the tedious aspects," he says.