Our manufacturing began as a local welding company
Our company was founded two years after the end
of World War II, in 1947, when Japan was still under Allied occupation. A plant was built at Higashi-honmachi in Akashi and a company called the Kanemitsu Doukou Welding Ltd. was founded to conduct jointing work on pipes and sheet metal. Kanemitsu entered the world as a local welding company supporting Japan’s recovery after the war.
At that time, our first President (the current Chairman), Yukio Kanemitsu, was a young man of only 15 years old. He first became excited by what was to become his beloved world of making things and manufacturing while still attending junior high school and plunged into this path without hesitation, withdrawing from junior high school and formally entering Kanemitsu Doukou Welding Ltd. in the following March.
Five years later in 1952, upon the death of the previous President, Yukio Kanemitsu became President at the tender age of 20. From then and for 57 years until 2009, he oversaw the growth and development of Kanemitsu, as leader of a company always aiming to create Only One technologies, and single-mindedly traveled the path of technology.
- Won order for Osaka post office classification baskets
- (using aluminum with a duralumin main body)
- Began making Tone brand tool boxes for Maeda Metal Industries Ltd.
- Began making Katsura tool boxes for the Kyoto Plant and sheet metal parts
- and motors for Jeeps for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
Development of “roll-forming” was triggered
by coal-mine rescue equipment
Japan’s post-war high-speed growth was supported by coal.
However,with coal there is always a risk of explosion of coal dust and working in mines is fraught with danger on a daily basis for the people who work there. For this reason, a Rescue Corps was formed to enter the pits to conduct life-saving and handle breaches when accidents occur in coal-mines. Rescue equipment such as oxygen tanks carried as back-packs were used in the work of the Rescue Corps.
In 1957, we were requested by Kawasaki Aircraft Co., Ltd. to make its Kobe plant. After toiling long and hard over processing the peripheral edge of the doors, we had the idea of processing while rolling, and we were able to complete the rescue equipment by applying our own machine tools.
We used this experience as a direct clue to develop” the “roll-forming” method which later linked to the idea of manufacturing pulleys from a single sheet of steel plate and became the foundation for the growth of Kanemitsu into a major company for automotive pulleys, and we came to be known as “Kanemitsu for Technology.
- Started manufacturing and succeeded in developing
- the V pulley using the “roll-forming” method.
- Began making Yamato fire extinguishers
- and gas cylinders for Iwatani Corporation.
- Began making and delivering V pulleys using the “roll-forming” method
- for the Familia for Toyo Kogyo Co. Ltd. (now Mazda Motor Corporation).
Swiftly catching new information
and pioneering development ahead of competitors
“We want as many customers as possible to benefit from the products
that we have created using Kanemitsu’s original technology.” With this in mind and pride in our company’s technology in our hearts, the decade from 1967 to 1976 was a period when Kanemitsu, with our President at the center, energetically worked to expand our sales channels.
In 1968, we proactively deployed sales activities targeting transactions with our nearby automobile manufacturer, Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. However, although our sales team from the President downward went to visit Daihatsu repeatedly, we had trouble in obtaining the desired response. But finally, on our 47th visit, we were given the drawings and were able to begin making pulleys for them.
In 1975, we received information that a new shape of belt had been created and that it would soon spread rapidly through the industry, and we began developing the poly V pulley ahead of our competitors. This became a major stimulus for our future growth.
- Began making pulleys for Kubota Tekko K.K. (now Kubota Corporation),
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Kawasaki Aircraft Co., Ltd.
- Began making pulleys for Yanmar Co. Ltd., Sato Zoki K.K. and Iseki & Co. Ltd.
- Began making pulleys for Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. and Hitachi, Ltd.
Turning a crisis for company survival into a springboard
for further leaps forward
In 1978, after succeeding in developing the now mainstream poly V pulley,
Kanemitsu was featured in the industry magazine “Press Technology” (August 1979 Edition) in an article entitled “Growing Fast on In-house Development of the ‘roll-forming’ Method” and began to ride the wave of growth.
In 1980, the first stage of building the Miki Plant was completed and we established a mass production regime for pulleys. Two years later, poly V pulleys manufactured from steel plate were adopted by Toyota for the first time and we exceeded monthly production of 20,000 units (1983) as well as significantly expanding our share.
However, at the same time, just as Kanemitsu was embarking on its rapid growth, we faced a shocking incident: the failure of pulleys for the Toyota Soarer (today, more commonly known as a recall).
This was a testing time for Kanemitsu and even represented a crisis for our corporate survival, but rather than sinking into despair, we exerted all our efforts to try to find out the cause of the failure as rapidly as possible together with the manufacturer and we implemented precise measures to prevent further recurrence of the problem. This also triggered the construction of the foundations of our current quality assurance and, as a result, we were able to improve the reliability of our products and raise our status as a specialist pulley manufacturer.
- Began mass production of the poly V pulley
- Poly V pulley was first adopted by Toyota
- Monthly production of poly V pulleys exceed 200,000 units
From a backstreet workshop to a company deploying a global business
In 1982, our current President, Toshiaki Kanemitsu, joined
the company and we began to shed our former image and backstreet workshop corporate management and launched activities aimed at becoming a more open and transparent corporation. We proactively adopted new methods and strengthened our business structure, by investing in consulting on human resources development and corporate reform, and embarking on activities such as implementing the 5S to improve the workplace, KQ-UP activities (review of day-to-day work and activities seeking to improve quality), introducing QC circle activities, cost reduction activities, implementing a job challenge system, and obtaining ISO certification, etc.
Then, in 1998, our President, Toshiaki Kanemitsu was awarded the Science & Technology Agency Director General’s Prize for our achievement in developing poly V pulleys manufactured from steel plate, and in the following year, we were also selected among the “Top 300 Vigorous Manufacturing SMEs.” We had begun to draw attention from society for our strength in technology, as “Kanemitsu for Technology.”
From this time onward, momentum gathered within Kanemitsu toward overseas expansion and we began examining the possibility. In 1999, we established a local company in Thailand, Kanemitsu Pulley Co. Ltd. (KPC) as our first overseas base.
In 2006, we established a local company, Foshan Kanemitsu Automotive Parts Co. Ltd. (FKC) in Guangdong Province, China, and we have grown into a company that deploys its business globally, while stimulating human exchanges by accepting trainees and recruiting people from overseas, etc.
- Developed theattached boss pulley using the ring projection welding method.
- 「Succeeded in developing the integrated boss pulley.
- Number of pulleys produced at the Miki Plant exceeded 100 million.
- Obtained QS9000 Quality System certification.
- Obtained ISO14001 Environmental Management System certification.
- Launched the Kanemitsu pulley coating line. Began mass production of sprockets.
Toward the manufacturing dream depicted by creative technology
Some 60 years after we began our business as a backstreet workshop
in Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture, and after developing ourselves into the world’s largest automobile engine pulley company, the next major topic for Kanemitsu going toward into the next generation is to take on the challenge of a new business area. To this end, Kanemitsu began by establishing the Kanemitsu Thailand Technical Center (KTTC) and in 2011, we established the Technical Center attached to the Kasai Plant, to realize this. Further, in 2014, we established an industry-academia research and development institute, the Research Center in Nagasaki City, and are enhancing its functions based on close linkages, and boldly taking on challenges in new product development.
In addition, we are also focusing on developing human resources to assume key roles in moving Kanemitsu into the next generation, such as by continuously conducting and enhancing training by inviting to Japan local technical staff who are supporting our expanding business in Asia. We have also newly-established a training system for technicians and managers active globally at all our production and development bases. We are steadily storing fresh power by rallying our original knowledge and technology, and looking ahead toward various changes in the future.
However much the times may change, there is no change in our commitment since the founding of our company to “Create Only-One technology that is useful to society.” Kanemitsu will continue to pursue the manufacturing dream with all our strength and faith in the significant possibilities offered by the technologies we have developed and fostered.