Metrol Co., Ltd.(Tachikawa City)
Metrol Co., Ltd. is a company located inside the Tachihi Real Estate, which is an industrial complex stretching out on the north side of JR Tachikawa station, and develops, produces, and sells industrial sensors for factory automation. We have interviewed Mr. Takuji Matsuhashi (photo), the president of the company, which is a global niche top company as a specialized manufacturer of “ultra precision position switch”.
“Ultra precision position switch” is a contact-type sensor that measures the starting point of a tool’s head to the accuracy of one thousandth of a millimeter. It is installed in devices such as automatic machine tools used in factories. By correcting insensible deviations and nicks that occur each time the machine operates, it consistently maintains the same result and improves the yield rate. It is a necessity for manufacturers. We started our business in Musashino City in 1976 (Showa 51), and half a year later, we moved to the current location, industrial complex – Tachihi Real Estate. Later, in 1983 (Showa 58), we successfully developed “tool setter for CNC machine tools,” which refined and automated the cutter blade exchange of a lathe that used to be entrusted to a skilled craftsman, and lead to the birth of “ultra precision position switch.” This became a smash hit product. Moreover, as major machine tool manufacturers started to equip this product as their standard equipment, we became a pioneer of the industry in the field of “cutter edge positioning” for machine tools. These achievements were recognized, and we were awarded “Director-General of the Science and Technology Agency’s Award” in 1995 (Heisei 7), “Minister of Economy’s Award, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise IT Management Skills Grand Prize” in 2012 (Heisei 24) and “Global Niche Top 100 Enterprises in Japan” in 2014 (Heisei 26). Currently, our “ultra precision position switch” holds the world’s top share and is used at more than 70 machine tool manufacturers in 17 countries. In 10 years, it has been equipped in cumulative total of four hundred thousand CNC machine tools. Overseas sales occupy more than half of our current sales, and we have sales hubs in China (Shanghai), Taiwan, and India (Bangalore). However, we stick to “Made in JAPAN,” and everything from production and quality examination to shipment are done from our own factory in Tachikawa.
High reliability is one of the features of our products. The products are resistant to bad environment, such as temperature change, because of a precision instrument structure that does not use current compared to traditional electric type sensors. In terms of patent, we have obtained more than 50 both in Japan and overseas. We custom-make our products based on each request from our customers. Therefore, we have about 700 products, and there are up to 7000 parts that make up these products. Our seasoned staffs with technical expertise manually assemble them one by one and produce the high-precision products. In terms of precision, if we look at an example from the medical devices industry, our sensor is used for “correcting of parallelism” of neurosurgery microscopes used at medical institutions around the world. For the stock of about 7,000 precision parts, we have adopted the enterprise resource planning system (ERP) and it makes it possible to secure the appropriate stock by unifying the management of the parts. Therefore, we are able to respond to daily requests of wide-variety, small-batch orders quickly, and deliver them within a week to anywhere in the world.
Tama region, located in western Tokyo, is active in industrial development and is able to receive various supports. We participate in “Greater Tokyo Initiative” and are being assisted for industry-academia joint research and extension of overseas market. In addition, the industrial complex in which we are located is appealing because of the high convenience of transportation and commodity distribution. Since we are close to the interchange of the Chuo Expressway, we are accessible to outsourcing companies not only inside Tokyo, but also in Greater Kanto area, such as Fukushima Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture, and this allows us to respond within about a day when ordering parts and delivering our products domestically. In other aspects, although we are in Tokyo, since we are located inside the industrial complex in Tachikawa, it is possible to commute by car. There are less commuter traffic jams compared to the center of Tokyo, and this becomes an advantage to gather competent employees, who wish to work near their residence. As a world’s niche top company, we would like to continue producing high value-added products and exporting to the world from this Tama region.
|List of major awards received|
|1995||Director-General of the Science and Technology Agency’s Award|
|2008||Award for Excellence, Courageous Management Award, The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry|
|2010||Manufacturing Human Resources Development Governor’s Grand Prize, Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government|
|2010||Highest Award, Tama Blue Award, Tama Shinkin Bank|
|2012||Excellent Founder Prize, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Ltd.|
|2012||Minister of Economy’s Award, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise IT Management Skills Grand Prize, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry|
|2012||Nikkei Inc. Award, Tokyo Shinkin Bank Association|
|2014||100 Selections of Diversity Management Companies in Japan, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry|
|2014||Global Niche Top 100 Enterprises in Japan, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry|
Address: 5F, Bldg. #25 Tachihi Real Estate, 1-100 Takamatsu-Cho, Tachikawa City, Tokyo