1. Home >
  2. About the Supporting Industry Program >
  3. Matching cases >
  4. Development of ultraprecision processing machinery with features that reduce vibrations and autonomously correct temperature

Matching cases

Development of ultraprecision processing machinery with features that reduce vibrations and autonomously correct temperature

Nagase Integrex Co., Ltd.

Through a clear prospect and better promotion to customer, the company has achieved steady development of technology and the retention and acquisition of customers

With a clear prospect, the company took on the challenge of enhancing the precision of processing machines by improving its own in-house technologies.

The company is a manufacturer of machining tools that develops and manufactures grinding machines and ultraprecision processing machines, etc., and performs custom-processing using such machines. Currently, surface grinders are its primary products. Many of the company's machines are used in the molding industry, in particular for dies that are used to manufacture ultraprecision products. Recently, applications have been expanded to automobile parts, such as head-up displays and headlight surrounds.
The reason for applying to the SIP was in order to develop processing machines with higher precision by enhancing the company's own technologies, rather than in response to a specific customer's needs. The company thought that processing machines with higher precision would provide stable precision in processed products, so they would be able to improve added value for customers.
Meantime, as improving existing machines to enhance processing precision to a certain level would be expensive, the company decided to start with basic in-house research to develop higher machining precision. Then, the company reached a stage where it could establish a clear prospect that, with a certain amount of capital, it could achieve commercialization in two to three years. It was only then that the company apply to the SIP.
The company predicted what problems might occur, and achieved commercialization within the duration of the SIP project.

During the SIP project, the company took on the challenge of improving processing precision from the following two perspectives: reducing vibrations and correcting temperature autonomously.
At the start of the SIP project, Takeshi Itazu, the assistant manager of the manufacturing headquarters,

predicted what problems might occur, and when something happened that was different from his predictions, he took action such as checking in all the appropriate places. For example, since during the SIP project the company was trying to make the temperature control mechanism as energy-saving as possible, it was predicted that some issues would arise in relation to the process of creating an energy-saving machine that they had never tackled before. To address those kinds of issues, he designed in advance a schedule with some margins and a framework for cooperation.
At the start of the SIP project, he had already established a clear perspective with regard to achieving commercialization in two to three years, and forecast possible problems which might occur within the duration of the SIP project. As a result of this, the company was able to develop superior technologies as expected within the scheduled period. It is precisely because the company had managed to developed superior technologies that those technologies came to be used in various of the company's machines. As a result, the company achieved commercialization within the duration of the SIP project.
Through promotion in ways which would attract customers' attention, the SIP contributed to the retention and acquisition of customers.

As the company was able to improve the overall precision of processing machines as a result of the SIP project, it immediately started selling them. The number of large-scale high precision processing machines that were manufactured domestically was limited, while on the other hand foreign-made machines were expensive and time-consuming to maintain. In response to these

issues, the company conducted promotion targeting customers who had approached them saying they wanted large-scale, precise processing machines. It also aims to absorb demand from customers who are planning to replace foreign-made machines they are currently using.
In such cases, the company's test center plays a role in pioneering new customers and deepening relationships with existing customers. Through test processing, the test center shows customers how to solve the problems they are actually facing, and this contributes to increasing customers' understanding of the excellence of the processing technology and to increasing orders for processing machines. Of course, all the technologies developed under the SIP have been incorporated into the processing machines used in the test center, too.
Usually, the development of intangible processing technology is unlikely to contribute directly to the acquisition of customers or to increases in sales. However, as a result of developing technologies as expected by conducting R&D with a clear prospect, and of carrying out product promotion in ways that will most attract customers' attention, the company has steadily been retaining and acquiring customers.
The company uses exhibitions to gather and analyze information on new applications of technologies and products. It never fails to exhibit its products at Japan International Machine Tool Fair, which is held every 2 years, and in years when the JIMTOF is not held, it exhibits them at exhibitions held in Nagoya. By going to three or four exhibitions every year, the company gathers customer information.
Importance of developmental power
The company sells machines in three ways: 1) selling conventional machines as replacements; 2) selling machines which are slight modifications of conventional ones; and 3) selling newly manufactured machines. In the past, ways 2) and 3) accounted for about half the company's sales, but their share is currently rising toward about two-thirds. This means that in the current company, development capability is likely to directly connect to sales. "In the domestic market, where 90% of our machines are sold, the importance of development is increasing, and cases where requests to develop existing machines come our way may also arise. When that happens, we will make the best use of all the technologies we have cultivated so far, including the technologies we developed under the SIP," says Assistant Manager Itazu.
He gives energy saving as an example of something he wants to achieve by making use of the company's development capability. For example, by improving machines so that they flexibly respond to temperature variations, he aims to develop processing machines in which temperature changes will not affect processing precision. Also, in the future, he also wants to present Smart Thermonics, a feature for autonomously compensating for the surrounding environment which was developed as one of the company's initiatives to save energy, at academic conferences, exhibitions and so on.

Key points of successful commercialization and matching

● Applying to SIP after having established a clear prospect
As the company had established a clear prospect of achieving commercialization in two to three years, it was able to develop the expected technologies within the expected period.
● Predicting in advance what processes problems might occur with
By predicting what processes problems might occur with, and considered countermeasures in advance, the company was able to proceed with the R&D as planned.
● Promoting products in ways that would most attract customers' attention
By promoting products in ways that would most attract customers' attention, rather than the ways that it wanted to, the company was able to link the development of technologies which are difficult to attract customers' interest with to the steady retention and acquisition of customers.

Advice for making the most of the SIP

Takeshi Itazu, assistant manager of manufacturing headquarters
It is important to set an appropriate goal on the basis of the status quo before applying to the SIP. While outstanding technologies are required in order to be adopted by the SIP, if the goals for linking to commercialization are too high, the R&D won't go well even if it gets adopted. If it's something which has no possibility of being realized or something which will be easy to achieve, it's no good. Carefully considering the setting of appropriate goals is important at both the pre-adoption stage and the post-adoption stage, when giving the results.
Establish firm goals, and make effective use of the SIP.

Introduction Movie

Go to top of page