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One-shot technology from Matsumoto Kosan

Article - November 3, 2023

A manufacturer of high-precision parts, Matsumoto Kosan has established three major pillars of growth for the future: electric and fuel-cell vehicles, generative AI, and telecommunications.

“We are indeed interested in forging alliances with Japanese, international, and local companies.”

Naoki Matsumoto, President, Matsumoto Kosan Co., Ltd.

Japan’s renowned monozukuri manufacturing industry is typified by companies like Matsumoto Kosan, a precision parts manufacturer located in Saitama Prefecture. The company’s high-quality, high-precision products are used in a wide range of industries, including automotives, medical and telecommunications.

Matsumoto Kosan’s specialty is the cutting of metal parts using CNC lathes. The company’s CNC lab has the capability to work with various nonferrous materials, such as aluminum, copper and titanium, as well as steel for the automotive industry. Additionally, the company has successfully developed a method to incorporate a magnetic element into stainless steel, creating a new type of functional material. “Unlike traditional approaches that involve multiple machines for cutting, curving, and shaping a product from cylindrical forms, our machining center is designed to perform all these processes in a single operation,” adds president Naoki Matsumoto. “By leveraging multiple accesses that operate simultaneously, we are able to curve and create the end product in one shot. This approach maximizes efficiency and allows us to optimize our limited factory space by eliminating other processes.”

Giving an example of how Matsumoto Kosan’s one-shot technology has served as a successful solution for its clients, Mr. Matsumoto highlights one such client that supplies transmission controlled valves to Toyota. The valve supplier initially produced the product in-house and invested approximately JPY 1 billion into factory production. While they managed to independently manufacture the controlled valves for some time, they encountered technical difficulties that hindered their production capabilities, and as a result, approached Matsumoto Kosan for a solution. “In response, we developed a prototype that accurately replicated the controlled valve with utmost precision,” says Mr. Matsumoto. “The remarkable aspect is that we achieved this feat with a mere JPY 2 million investment, which amounted to just 1/10 of the production cost. This particular case exemplifies how our technology offers an incredibly efficient and cost-effective solution. Matsumoto Kosan is like a temple customers come to at the last minute. They come to us for help and we can make it happen.”

“On numerous occasions, we have served as an emergency refuge for many manufacturers in need,” he adds.

Key to Matsumoto Kosan’s ambitions to expand in the ASEAN region is the company’s plant in Thailand, whose prolonged success can also be attributed to the strong supply chain ecosystem in the region. “Aside from our focus on developing high-quality and high-precision products, the manufacturing process requires a well-established network of suppliers. Within this supply chain infrastructure, notable Thai SMEs specialize in stamping, forging, heat treatment, coating, and blade cutting, all of which contribute to the overall strength of the network,” the company president explains. “As the driving force behind the creation of this infrastructure, we are contemplating expanding our presence to other ASEAN or Southeast Asian regions, starting from Thailand. We are also considering the establishment of a factory in Mexico, which has emerged as a prominent destination amid the ongoing decoupling between the United States and China.”

Sending Japanese engineers to oversee operations at its Thai plant has ensured that high-quality Japanese production standards are maintained, while the company has also made a concerted effort to hire female employees across all its divisions over the past 10 years. Now, women make up 48% of the Matsumoto Kosan workforce, and the average employee age is 33, far below Japan’s industrial average age of 43.

In terms of focus areas for the company moving forward, electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), generative AI, and telecommunications comprise the three main pillars of growth. The shift towards EVs and FCVs requires the development of parts, materials and components. “It is imperative that we establish a strong presence in the market by providing innovative products that align with this surge,” states Mr. Matsumoto.

“The second pillar revolves around the advancement of generative AI, which necessitates the development of new components in this field. The third pillar is telecommunications, where the demand for complex and intricate components is also prevalent. Fortunately, we possess the necessary technology to fulfill these requirements, and our focus lies in identifying the optimal applications for our capabilities.”