Tadatoshi Shibata, President
Syuto Inc. succeeds the spirit of its founder and the current Chairman, Mr. Mikio Shibata who produced the first mold for plastic models in Japan. There have been more than 2, 000 “molds made with pride” that have been produced with know-how and technology that have been accumulated through years.
USS Nautilus, the first made-in-Japan
The first plastic model made in Japan is “Nuclear-powered Submarine USS Nautilus ” sold at Marusan Toy , which was a toy maker at the time, in 1958. In the time when plastic manufacturing engineering was not established in Japan, it was Mr. Mikio Shibata who introduced a 3-dimensional carving machine from Germany and produced the mold at last after many attempts. He then founded Syuto Inc. in 1978.
The company has produced molds of a wide variety of popular products such as Supercar , popular series of cartoon heroes, and Mini 4WD . Experience and know-how accumulated through production of more than 2,000 titles have become valuable assets for Syuto.
Mr. Tadatoshi Shibata whom we interviewed is a son of Mr. Mikio Shibata and became the company’s president in 2011. Setting its position as “a company to provide smiles and entertainment to customers,” the company had a new start.
Production of a mold by a lathe machine
When building plastic models, parts are generally removed from a frame called runner and assembled. Runner and parts are molded by pouring plastic melted by heat into the mold. Thus, the more detailed the plastic model is, the more precise the mold has to be. Even slight errors are not allowed for products such as figures whose postures can be changed with small movements of the limbs.
This is supported by skillful craftsmen. Processing can be done with mechanical lathe to some extent, but the final touch is done manually by special craftsmen with long experience and masterful intuition.
“We have masters with amazing skills who can make minute adjustment by 1/100 mm. For example, subtle feelings experienced by customers when assembling parts, such as “loosely” twisting a part to take it off or “strongly” pushing it in, can be realized only by their craftsmanship.
With experienced mold craftsmen like “Mold Artist” Mr. Ishikame and “Living Precision Machine” Mr. Shimizu, the technical brand power is enhanced to the level that other companies cannot achieve.
Detailed 3D modeling
When a request for mold production is received, staff members go to study the actual thing such as a vehicle or building. The real dimensions are measured and photos are taken, and then the structure is designed including the number of parts in reference with design drawings, etc.
While pursuing the reality, the balance between width and length is adjusted with the beauty and strength as a plastic model taken into account, not just reducing the size. In addition, know-how unique to Syuto, Inc., such as to include as many parts as possible in one mold for cost reduction, excels here.
With human model, for example, realistic parts, even finger joints, are produced to realize human movements.
On other hand, Syuto’s engineering enables production from one piece of illustration. Using 3D modeling software, free curving surface is created. Data can be confirmed with output drawings and then with modeling by a 3D printer.
Full-scale model for promotional robots
of a company
Syuto Inc. provides overall support from designing and manufacturing of molds and planning to sales of plastic model. It is not just toy makers that have taken notice of its technology. It has received many requests from various companies for manufacturing of product or device models and planning and manufacturing of plastic models.
Furthermore, Syuto has managed molds of various types of plastic products including industrial parts and audio accessories. Of course, complex processing is the company’s specialty.
“’If you can produce a plastic model, you can produce any plastic molds.’ That is a complement we get from many of our customers.”
Syuto Inc. Factory
Syuto Inc.’s factory is located at the center of Edogawa Ward. Although access to the center of the Metropolitan is now great with the Toei Subway and there are apartments around the station, many factories were in the area at the time of the company’s establishment. The area around the factories was wetland as it was closed to the mouth of the Edo River . For Mr. Shibata, it used to be his playground, and thus he is attached to this location. Of course, cooperation among the factories has continued.
Syuto has taken advantage of measures provided by the Edogawa Ward. One example is participation in the “Tokimeki Industry Fair ” hosted by Edogawa Ward as part of support to Monozukuri companies.
It also participated in “Business Succession School ” hosted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center.
“We received a wide range of support including review of our business model. We might not have become what we are today without making use of the Center’s services.”
Environment that is only possible in Tokyo where abundant information and support systems exist strongly backs up enthusiastic efforts by the company’s second-generation president, Mr. Shibata.
The logo mark of Syuto Inc. has a smile at the center. Mr. Shibata’s hope to “deliver smiles and entertainment to customers” is converted to minute plastic models and distributed domestically and to the world every day.