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Okawa Screw Manufacturing Promotes Automation with Production Technology at the Center

by Shun Otsuki
President & Editor in Chief KINSAN FASTENER NEWS


Okawa Screw Manufacturing Promotes Automation with Production Technology at the Center

Okawa Screw Manufacturing, located in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, aims to achieve sales of 7 billion yen by 2025. We interviewed President Tomoki Okawa, who has established an advanced production system, including automation, with the production technology division at the core of the company.

The company plans sales of 6.2 billion yen in FY2022, up 10% from the previous year, and aims for 7.0 billion yen in FY2025, the final year of its five-year plan. The company aims to achieve sales of 7.0 billion yen in FY2025, the final year of its five-year plan. The company plans to expand sales of its mainstay automotive brake-related parts in the domestic market to offset the decline in sales of existing products due to the shift to EVs, and to add to sales with newly developed parts for EVs.

President Okawa took office in January of this year. Mr. Naoki Okawa, who retired from the position, will focus on business expansion as president of PLUGO (Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo), which operates EV charging station business within the company group. With this move, the entire group will build a dual business structure of automotive parts and EV recharging infrastructure.

President Okawa has been focusing on automation efforts centered on the Production Engineering Department. One of the obstacles to automation has been the structure unique to parts manufacturers, which is small-lot, high-mix production. The newly established Technology Reform Department introduced robots to supply processing machines for bending products, which have many part numbers and a variety of shapes. By increasing the versatility of the supply function, a line capable of handling several hundred part numbers with a single processing machine was constructed.

At Plant 4, which is the key to the logistics process and is IoT-enabled, products returned from the plating process are inspected, stored, and shipped. At the inspection booths, staff members read QR codes on themselves and on the product lots to manage work progress. Products are stored in a multi-story automated warehouse via a conveyor next to the staff. Designated products are shipped by palletizing robots. The new Plant 4 eliminates the need for inspection staff to carry cases and travel long distances, and has significantly reduced the number of shipping staff. Cameras are installed on machines that frequently stall, and the causes of stoppages are stored as 24-hour data for improvement. These are some of the automation systems that the Technology Reform Department has built.

President Okawa says, "It will take time for the field to understand the meaning of IoT and for it to take root, but when results are achieved, it becomes a success story for everyone and spreads throughout the company"

After graduating from college, he studied airplane piloting techniques at an aeronautical college and became enthusiastic about the joys of operating precision machinery. He has been introducing robots to each production site for the past 4 to 5 years, and plans to introduce an AI-equipped image inspection machine, which he is developing, into full-scale operation in the future. President Okawa commented on the company's aspirations, "We will continue to develop new products and technologies.

President Okawa commented on his ambitions, "I would like to make as many people as possible who share my ideas and are willing to work together with me. We will invest in both machinery and human resources to achieve this goal"