FUJIMURA KOGYO Co. Ltd.
FUJIMURA KOGYO Co. Ltd. is a leading company in the industry of manufacturing and selling various types of packaging machinery, and we hold a number of patents. Especially sealed containers by our proprietary technology "Kairaku Pack", has been attracting attentions as the Pack is an invention to change the packaging for tofu (bean curds) dramatically. We interviewed President Kaoru Fujimura.
We dealt non-ferrous metals at the timing of founding in 1952, however, we starting manufacturing and selling packaging machinery for foods and mechanical components from 1968 onward. The machinery in these fields tends to be custom-made, and larger companies are hard to enter the industry. Our company, on the other hand, has a small number of employees, which enables us to respond to various orders from clients flexibly. We are aware of it and always try to make every effort for technological developments.
I have been a social worker for the City, and I often heard from the elderly, saying that "tofu packs are difficult to open." Tofu packs contain water, which are stacked at store counters, and that’s why sealing films are strictly adhered to. It is therefore difficult for the elderly and children to open the packs, and there happened accidents in which the elderly cut his/her hand with a kitchen knife when opening the pack. It was the start point of developing "Kairaku Pack" as I considered if we could make a tofu pack which could be easily opened by any means.
However, the development was not easy. First, to enhance the bonding strength of sealing film, I considered if we could add a fold at the edge of a container and remove it when taking out tofu. However, there was a possibility to break the hedge when the container crashed. I then considered that we put a cutting line on the edge, below which we put a reinforcing film. You can peel off the reinforcing film with much smaller force than before, as you peel off it along the outer narrow periphery (contact point) of a container. This method can use cheaper films than the method of peeling off the adhesive part of sealing film, which enables reducing costs. You can peel of the film thoroughly, which makes recycling easier. "Kairaku Pack", which was completed in this way, won the Best Award of FY2008 Itabashi Product Technology Grand Prize, as a superior universal design. "Kairaku Pack" has also attracted convenience stores. We’re now thinking of overseas development of "Kairaku Pack" manufacturing equipment.
Small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, should not rely on leading companies, but be relied on with strength of only one.
I want to ask the national and local governments for initiatives supporting SMEs in line with the reality. For example, in case that a part of expenses to develop machinery are subsidized, we cannot sell the machinery for five years, regardless of applications. Even when we need to earn extra R&D expenses, we cannot do it. I suppose we need system reforms, such as to separate the purposes of using the subsidy, e.g. separating the purpose of selling from that of researching. In addition, when we borrow funds from credit guarantee associations and we have received a grant from Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the amount of money will be deducted from the borrowing limit. I wonder if we could link the loans which we will repay anyway with grants from the Metropolitan Government.
In order to maintain and develop "Monozukuri (Manufacturing) Companies" of Japan, I hope public and private sectors to work together with wisdoms and collaborate.
FUJIMURA KOGYO Co. Ltd.
Address: 4-2, Shimizucho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 174-0053