Nakano Bolt, inheriting 100 years of expertise in hot forging
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Nakano Bolt, inheriting 100 years of expertise in hot forging

by Shun Otsuki
President & Editor in Chief KINSAN FASTENER NEWS  

 

Nakano Bolt (Onojo City, Fukuoka Prefecture; President: Shinichi Nakano), a manufacturer of hot forged bolts, is strengthening its business by balancing efforts to pass on human skills and investment in automation.

The company manufactures hot forged bolts with one of the best friction presses in Japan. Founded in 1921, the company has achieved unique growth while responding to changing supply sources over time, such as shipbuilding, railroads, waterworks, civil engineering, and bridges. The company has the advantage of being able to produce special bolts in small lots from die fabrication to integrated production by taking advantage of the characteristics of hot forging cultivated through its long history.

President Nakano, who became the company's fifth president in April 2021, has been working to reform the company environment in order to pass on skills from veteran craftsmen to younger workers, including friction presses, general-purpose lathes, and secondary processing equipment, which rely heavily on the senses of craftsmen.

While promoting the use of manuals, the company also emphasizes the transfer of skills through dialogue. Young workers are paired with veterans for the first six months after joining the company. The aim is to have young employees learn skills that are difficult to pass on through manuals alone, through communication.

The company also focuses on the "satisfaction and interest" of the work. Rather than assigning workers to specific processes, the company has created an environment that encourages multi-skilled workers to experience all processes so that "employees can think for themselves and come up with their own answers" (President Nakano). The company traditionally finishes work at 4:45 p.m. with no overtime. At the same time, by promoting a work style that focuses on satisfaction and fun, the company is creating a culture in which employees voluntarily participate in technical training. The company's corporate philosophy, "People make products, and products make people," is being put into practice.

In addition to passing on human skills, the company is strengthening its die production, and from 2020 to last year, it successively introduced various types of NC equipment for die production, including NC lathes, wire-cut electric discharge machines, and NC milling machines. The company has strengthened its in-house die manufacturing capabilities through production automation. The company also plans to increase the number of personnel involved in this process. In addition to in-house die manufacturing equipment, the company is also focusing on capital investment to improve process efficiency by introducing secondary processing equipment such as rolling machines and presses. It is President Nakano's idea to incorporate not only traditional human technology but also new technology using state-of-the-art equipment.

Prior to joining the company, President Nakano was involved in quality assurance at a major pharmaceutical manufacturer. He says, " I have not changed my approach to manufacturing and quality. I also have to deal with both users and production departments, so my ability to manage people is very useful" 

The company has been refining its technology in response to the changing needs of its suppliers over time. The company is also eyeing the field of renewable energy, such as offshore wind power, as a new market.