Prise winners list

This company has established the technology for manufacturing of the molds for ultra thin/ultra fine plastic products that exceed the conventional limits

Uenohara-City, Yamanashi Prefecture
Kaiwa Co., Ltd.
Other award winners
Kaiwa Co., Ltd. / Maki Amino, Makoto Ishii, Takahiro Kinoshita, Yoshio Takeshita,Masatoshi Yamamoto
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation / Hayashi Takayuki
Recommended by
Makino Milling Machine Co., Ltd.

Yamazoe, Shigeyuki  (45)

Ability of experienced workers? Skills of takumi (master)? To manufacture a good product, more than those ability and skills, namely free idea, originality and ingenuity are required.

Common knowledge for plastic molding cannot be applied. This company manufactures molds for ultra-fine products and sells those molded products. Being able to produce "the smallest plastic products in the world", the company enables downsizing the various products such as mobile phones, home electric appliances and automobile parts and installing their parts in high density. The company can manufacture precise products in a large quantity, meeting customers' demand for mass production. The company's unique molds, which push out only air bubbles when flowing plastic into them, enables manufacturing of such high-precision products. There are many young employees in their twenties. The company let its employees, who know everything about their machines, exert their skills, originality and ingenuity freely, enabling them to manufacture the products, which other manufacturers cannot.


Specializing in manufacturing of high-precision molds and resin molding which other companies cannot perform

Naked eyes cannot see what it is. A man can see with a magnifier vaguely what it is and can see clearly with a microscope. The object is a plastic stag beetle we produced to demonstrate our technology. Being so small that its total length is only 2.6mm, three such pieces can be put on a rice grain. People are astonished to see how sophisticated it is.

As symbolized by this "smallest stag beetle", this company specializes in ultra fine/high-precision resin molding technology. The company produces molds in micron meter and mobile phone parts and connectors with those fine molds and thus supports the precision machinery industry.

"Our basic policy for manufacturing is to meet the requests of customers in need. It is most difficult to manufacture a good product based on customer's own drawing. However, business opportunity appears for this reason. 
The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan asked us whether we could perform that kind of work, saying "No other companies accept this work. Can your company do it?"  The "ALMA" project for space observation was ongoing in Chile, and we were asked to manufacture an electric wave filter for a telescope to be constructed there. The requested filter is larger than our products, but fine precise grooves had to be made on its surface. Although other companies in the same industry hesitated to manufacture that part, Mr. Yamazaki believed "We can manufacture this part" the moment he saw the drawing. His instinct was correct and the employees made sure within six months that they could manufacture the product.

"We usually manufacture small products such as automatic focus parts for a portable camera 'in a large quantity'. Therefore we must mass produce the precise products without producing defective parts to meet customers' requirements."

Our factory operates without workers at night, but quality of our products is so good that no inspection is required because "we have so good work environment". Although the appearance of our factory is that of an ordinary small one, its core section is located underground. In the environment where there is almost no vibration, high precision machining and precise measurement are performed. This is only one of our secrets for our good technology. 

What we wish to have is not workers but "engineers" who can use our machines 100% effectively.

We say, "Mannerism causes deterioration of company's work and Takumi's (Master's) skill cannot produce a truly good mold". This may sound like nonsense if we do not have our backbone for manufacturing of leading-edge products in the world.
"While we strove to manufacture a product which other companies could not, we found that workers cannot acquire a high technology even if they perform a same work for many years. Experienced workers arbitrarily establish their standards for works that cannot be performed saying, "This accuracy is too strict and impossible". Sometimes they "teach" young inexperienced workers, saying, "You can perform only this level of work". This kind of practice never improves a company's whole level. 

Needless to say, this does not mean that the younger the engineers are, the better they are. The unique employee training supports the high technology of this company. For example, in other companies, usually a machine manufacturer and company's senior employees teach new employees how to operate a machine. However, this is not the case with this company because "they cannot be sure that the employees of manufacturer can use its machine 100% fully".
"We let our new employees read the operation manual for a machine well over again and let them learn not only its operation but structure. Our new employees manufacture, for example, only rectangular products for six months and measure their accuracy over again. It seems as if they are playing with the machine rather than having training. However, because of this practice, they will be able to manufacture a good product.
In actual work, we set only the target values for accuracy and deadline and let each employee determine how to manufacture a product. Free idea, originality and ingenuity of young people who know everything about machines produce a product, which other companies cannot.

A female employee who joined our company only two years and a half before did everything from design to mold building for the stag beetle introduced at the top of this document. Incidentally, the stag beetle which she produced was male. A male employee, who had worked for our company for two years, produced a female stag beetle.

"It is not my purpose to train my employees to be ordinary workers. My purpose is training them to be "engineers" who can be the best in any company". The basis for "monodzukuri (manufacturing)" is human resources. This "small factory" reminds us of that truth.

Kaiwa Co., Ltd.

May. 1968
10 million yen
14 (as of Dec. 2009)
Brief information:
With the aim of manufacturing the fine and high-precision products, the company manufactures the molds for plastics and the plastic products and meets customers' various needs.

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The smallest stag beetles in the world. Ms. Maki Amino, one of the award winners, designed them and manufactured the mold for them. The mobile phone strap with male and female stag beetles is on sale.


Tools looking like a needle are used to "gouge" the mold.


Many surprising products are designed and manufactured by this small factory.