CHICAGO (June 29, 11:55 a.m. EDT) — Japanese blow molder Goto Plastic Co. Ltd. is introducing cost-cutting technology to the supply chains of carmakers Honda and Toyota in the North American market, as it expands its operations into China.
The Nagoya, Japan-based firm made its first appearance at NPE in Chicago and is pushing technology to reduce the cost of post-molding scrap trimming and inspection. It also will open a two-person sales and service office in Columbus, Ohio, in July.
It developed the technology and has been selling it to the Japanese blow molding industry since 1991 but decided to branch out into the North American market with this show, said President Shinsuke Goto.
The company also opened a small, 10-person mold making shop in Shanghai in May, to reduce costs and test the market, he said. The company does not plan to reduce staff in Japan, where it has 15 mold makers among its 120 employees, he said.
The firm developed its technology to automate flash trimming and part inspection after working with those Japanese carmakers and trying to meet their goals of constant cost reduction, said Masaki Shishikura, a spokesman for Tokyo-based Altech Communications, which is a distributor of the Goto process.
As Japanese carmakers beef up production in North America, the company sees significant market potential for the product, both from Japanese transplants and U.S. firms working for them. It claims it can reduce cooling time by 16 percent, flashing time of large parts by 30 percent and require less floor space for operations, compared to traditional labor-intensive methods of trimming parts and inspecting.
The firm has sold 1,500 of the trimming machines in Japan and estimates it will do about $10 million in sales over the next three years in North America, to account for about 10 percent of the firm's annual $30 million in sales, Goto said.
Goto said its process can be used with any mold and can work with any large part blow molding, although 90 percent of the firm's work is with Japanese automakers. The firm has 25 blow molding machines at its Nagoya headquarters, it and subcontracts out additional work, he said.
He said the company expects to set up U.S. manufacturing for the flashing equipment at some point in the future.