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Molding needs into shapes | Interview with the person in charge of the Technical Department
 .  We respond to advances in advanced technology with fresh ideas and skills.
 Power to actually

Our information collecting ability comes from a wide range of sales channels developed over many years of business and this creates fresh ideas.
Our in-house network system, and the collaborative power of working with our subcontractors, allow us to make speedy trial production runs and then move to production on a larger scale quickly, which gives Tokuhatsu one of its many strengths. The excellent, highly developed technical capabilities of our staff create reliable products.

 .  The power to create new products comes from people's enthusiasm.  Interview with the person in charge of the Technical Department
. Making products that meet the needs of our customers
── First, could you tell me about the job of the Technical Department?
Person in charge / Our job is to mold the user needs into shapes and commercialize them. As a current example, we fabricated the couplings for a computer controlled drive in 4WD vehicles. Four-wheel drive vehicles need to be able to control the 2WD and 4WD systems. Although hydraulic and mechanically operated controls have been the primary methods used in the past, electronically controlled models are now being watched closely. The role of the coupling is very important. Our customer asked us to produce the component that they would use.
──Did you receive a request from your customer before starting to develop the component?
Person in charge / Well, we developed the component and ensured its performance. Then we begin commercial production. Since the production of this component has increased, we expanded the facilities for it in our company and we can now ensure production of a fair number of these components. This product is only made by one other company in Japan, and we can say with pride in any exhibition that this product demonstrates what Tokuhatsu has to offer.
. Micron technology
──What did you pay lots of attention to when developing the component?
Person in charge / The most difficult requirement for this component is that press mold specifications had dimensional tolerances on the order of microns. This micron technology and mold durability were both very important, but this kind of mold is very easy to crack and wears quickly. For example, if the mold deteriorated after only a few hundred pieces had been pressed, the economics of production would impossible. We had a lot of difficulty in figuring out how to make these molds be economically possible. Tokuhatsu carried out the full-scale production of the parts in-house, keeping a lid on the costs. This is one of the advantages of working with Tokuhatsu.
──What are the details of how you negotiate with a client?
Person in charge / We go to the manufacturer about twice a month and bring reproduction data with us. We do this repeatedly for about one year. In the meantime, they evaluate our ability to adapt quickly and our good footwork. Finally, we receive the question "Can you make this?" Then, we normally spend about two years developing the new product. Eventually, we receive an order after about three calendar years. This is quite common.
. Aiming at low cost and high production levels
──I have heard that you developed an advanced processing technique for the component in the ball bushings that are used in car suspensions.
Person in charge / This kind of washer supports the suspension when the tires move up and down. However, we realized that a flanged hole section would be molded into the part by a press without a shear drop. Although this is a small thing, it could be said that Tokuhatsu's technical power lies in being able to produce this part by using only a press, without any cutting.
──Finally, please tell me about challenge of creating such developments and processing techniques.
Person in charge / We have several levels of perseverance. One is focused on precision, making products with accuracies in the order of microns. Another one is mold life. Then, we also work out ways to make the process smooth, so as not to produce defects. Our industry can do anything if we are allowed to use special machines. However, it is important to do these same things using general-purpose machines. Consequently, this leads to cost reductions. Using general-purpose machines to make special products is our specialty. Although the mold is the important thing when making a new product, technical prowess in mold design and fabrication is Tokuhatsu's main pillar of strength. As a consequence, our ideal is to make good products at low cost. To do that, advanced mold and heat treatment technologies are necessary. Satisfactorily meeting the needs of our users by using Tokuhatsu's techniques is our most important job.
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