Saving Time & Money with Advanced Automation Nihon Shoryoku Kikai Co., Ltd. IP

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Category: Machinery

Reducing costs through ultrasonic 3-D profiling, deburring and chamfering technology, and low-pressure injection molding technology

In a world progressing more and more toward automation, Nihon Shoryoku Kikai Co., Ltd. (NSK) has carved out a niche in helping clients save time and money with specialized industrial robots and automated processing for materials such as plastic, non-woven fabric, glass fiber and other types of non-metallic material.

“Our strength is plastic material processing,” explains NSK President and CEO Norio Tanaka. Plastics are often difficult to handle due to their susceptibility to heat shrinkage and distortion. However, patented NSK technology can easily accommodate the shrinkage and distortion of freshly produced plastic, enabling this 45-person company in Gunma to become the first in the world to achieve unmanned automation of a secondary tooling process in a plastic molding line.

Nihon Shoryoku Kikai Co., Ltd. President and CEO Norio Tanaka.

Ultrasonic Automation

NSK innovators have blown past competitors’ limitations by programming robotic arms to handle tasks such as 3-D profiling, deburring and chamfering for complicated product shapes.

Rejecting conventional methods such as water jets, laser cutters or die cutters, NSK further applied its decades of sophisticated technology experience to developing robust ultrasonic tools that are not only effective in smoothing out rough surfaces, but also quiet and produce little dust.

NSK’s low-pressure molding processes and equipment, as well as its automated plastic molding secondary processing system, offer not only increased quality, but also savings in labor, energy and capital investment – not to mention reduced CO2 emissions.

The exterior of a die-cutting machine developed by Nihon Shoryoku Kikai Co., Ltd.

Overseas Partnerships

NSK now boasts over 100 patents in roughly two dozen countries, most of which concern its advanced deburring and trimming technology, as well as its low-pressure injection molding technology. Since its founding in 1981, the company has amassed domestic clientele including many of Japan’s largest manufacturers, including major automotive makers and electrical appliance manufacturers.

Tanaka says NSK is now focused on both licensing its technology and directly partnering with overseas companies, particularly those engaged in creating plastic molds. “The goal under our business model is to create tie-ups with local companies,” he explains. “We think this approach will help not only our own company, but allow local companies to develop as well.”

Already NSK has licensed technology to industrial robot maker Yaskawa Electric Corporation’s U.S. subsidiary, Yaskawa America, Inc., and is engaging in discussions for royalty-based partnerships with two further companies in the E.U.

With over 100 patents in two dozen countries, intellectual property licensing is key to Nihon Shoryoku Kikai Co., Ltd.’s business model.

Looking to AI & IoT

As needs in automation become more sophisticated, Tanaka expects that artificial intelligence (AI) will play more of a role in his company’s technology in five to 10 years, even enabling remote control from Japan via Internet-of-Things (IoT) functionality. “Even then,” Tanaka notes, “maintenance would be handled by local companies, and this is why we are looking for local partners.” Through licensed application of its technologies, NSK can raise manufacturing quality and save companies money anywhere in the world.

Based on interview in September 2016

A Nihon Shoryoku Kikai Co., Ltd. employee calibrates a six-axes articular robot.