Mitsui Seiki Kogyo president on what's driving the industry and the company forward

Kinichi Kato has been with Mitsui Seiki for 40 years, having joined the company in 1979 as an assembly engineer

Kinichi Kato was recently named president of Mitsui Seiki Kogyo, the parent company of Mitsui Seiki USA. Kato has been with Mitsui Seiki for 40 years, having joined the company in 1979 as an assembly engineer. He went from engineering assignments to management positions in production, machine tool sales, service, and business planning. He became director/general manager of the machine tool division production department in 2011 and was named a managing director in 2013 and a senior managing director in 2014. He most recently worked in business planning development, in charge of ISO certification and management.

Kato replaces Okuda Tetsuji, who has led Mitsui Seiki Kogyo since 2014 and will assume an advisory position with the company.

Kinichi Kato answered 7 questions about the organization and how technology is affecting the industry.

What are three key things that a machine builder, system integrator or manufacturer should know about your company?

1. We are a company with a strong commitment to manufacturing high-precision machines.

  • a. Machine designs that can achieve high accuracy (stiffness and mechanical structure designs that do not fluctuate).
  • b. Manufacturing infrastructure (tight factory temperature control and a robust factory foundation).
  • c. Outstanding engineers who possess the excellent craftsmanship and attitudes that have been passed down from our predecessors.

All of the above make it possible to manufacture high-precision machines.

2. We are a company that flexibly responds to customer requests to customize our high-precision and high-rigidity machines.

Our sales force is structured so that a machine can be proposed to match the customers’ desired processes and workpieces.

3. We are a company that offers exceptional after-sales support with machines that can be used reliably for many years.

We are a company that believes it is critical to provide superb after-sales service as well as a machine structure that can maintain high-accuracy and high-productivity over a long period of time.

What new technologies are driving your product development and why?

Structural analysis, frequency analysis and development of various sensors are driving product development. The reason is that premanufacture simulation, data acquisition and analysis has become very accessible and contributes to our lean manufacturing and design optimization parameters.

How does the Industrial Internet of Things figure in your business strategy?

Machine monitoring, preventive maintenance timing through data acquisition, maintaining quality of machined workpieces and other services can be provided to customers via IoT. These functions retain customer satisfaction and expands after-sales services.

How will machine automation and controls alter the way companies staff their operations in the future?

Machine automation can shift many human resources to higher value-added workplaces, while improvement in control technology allows machine operation to become easier, providing work to many people who may not possess highly technical skills.

How is the development of software solutions impacting your requirements for hardware?

I believe reliability in engineering makes it possible to simplify a complicated mechanical structure, increase the speed and life of a mechanical mechanism and improve operator friendliness.

As engineering and IT continue their convergence, which one is and/or software will be making your products better, faster and easier to use?

Since the inception of CNC machines, machines and IT has been closely connected, enhancing each other’s capabilities. When new machine structures and component parts are introduced, high-speed IC, communication technology and software development have developed. I believe this kind of relationship will continue in the future.

Looking into the future, how will technology change your company over the next five years?

With IoT and software technology development, I believe that the number of cases requiring solutions for events occurring at the production level will increase. To meet that requirement, we must take inventory of our technologies and skills, create a database for operations that can be converted to data and fully use the analysis techniques mentioned above to introduce new products to the market in a timely manner.