A leading technology pioneer in the plastics industry will take a place in the Plastics Hall of Fame.
Yoshiharu Inaba never expected to be getting such a nod, but he considers the induction a high honor, he said through a translator from his Japan offices during a recent interview with Plastics News.
"I was quite surprised," he remarked.
Inaba's 110 patents and projects speak for themselves.
Inaba, who is currently serving as the chairman of Fanuc Corp., has been working on the all-electric injection molding machine since he began his career nearly 40 years ago.
"For me, this award is one of the highest honors I've ever received," he said.
Hydraulic injection molding machines were often an inefficient use of energy, challenging for plastics manufacturers and had a host of environmental issues such as oil leaks, noise, controllability and stability.
After a visit to Milacron in Cincinnati in 1983, Inaba turned his sights to begin designing a new machine that would resolve such issues.
He returned to Japan to jump-start the machine with a team and got to work. In two years, Fanuc released the first electric injection molding machine for mass producing types of plastic.
Glenn Anderson, Plastics Industry Association vice president of industry relations and member engagement, nominated Inaba because of his design expertise and the revolution of mass producing precision injection molded plastics.
"Today, it is estimated that the entire fleet of all-electric injection molding machines globally is in excess of 200,000 units, which reinforces the significant impact that Dr. Inaba has had on the global plastics industry," Anderson stated in the nomination.