Yukio Ishikawa, Representative Director and President of Ishikawa Wire Netting Co., Ltd.
Ishikawa Wire Netting Co., Ltd. (Arakawa City)
Ishikawa Wire Netting Co., Ltd. is a long-standing firm founded in 1922. For over 90 years it has remained a specialist maker of wire mesh. Business until now has been supported by the proactive stance on developing new demand for wire mesh. In recent years the company has devoted efforts to developing products under its own brands, attracting attention both in Japan and overseas. We interviewed third-generation President Yukio Ishikawa currently at the helm.
What comes to mind when we hear the word “wire mesh”? A tea strainer, sieve or colander, various kitchen utensils generally come to mind, however mainstay business for the company is production of wire mesh used for industrial filter applications. For example, lubricating oil is circulated in automobile engines and machine tools etc to facilitate smooth movement of parts, and even the slightest amount of impurities mixing with the oil becomes a source of breakdown. Wire mesh filters are used to remove those impurities. Also, for plastic product production sites, filtering the melted plastic prior to forming raises the purity of the resin.
“Filtering impurities in raw materials can only be done with wire mesh. This is due to the metal properties of strength and heat resistance.”
Metals that are processed into filters include a versatile array of stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminum, titanium, etc. Wire material that is used in wire mesh is thinner than a human hair at 20 microns. The company handles integrated production of detailed wire mesh from weaving to processing, with superior manufacturing technological strength from original development of jigs, tools and equipment, meeting diversified and complex needs. In particular, the “1K Screen” brand developed as a dedicated filter for extruding equipment boasts not only the top domestic market share, but is gaining a growing presence overseas.
In addition to filters, the company is engaged in design, development and sales of metal & wire processed products, and design, development and sales of industrial machinery and peripheral equipment parts, developing a broad business base.
Integrated in-house production through detailed work by hand
Rich variations of 1K Screen
At the “Tokyo Business Design Awards” sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Ishikawa Wire Netting Co., Ltd. won the “Excellence Award” and “Theme Award” in FY2013. Submitted for the awards was new product KANAORI developed from free processing techniques of wire mesh, a new type created from the combination of different materials.
“We applied to the Tokyo Business Design Awards from our enthusiasm to start-up a new business.”
As an expression of this enthusiasm, we participated in the International Furniture Fair held in Stockholm, Sweden in February 2015. We submitted for display prototypes of lamp shades, folding screens, tatami mats, tote bags, etc., proposing applications for the new material, drawing praise from visitors.
Continuing the challenge, in December 2015, we launched new wire mesh product ORIAMI, which can be folded in similar fashion to origami. ORIAMI is made from red brass, the world’s first “foldable wire mesh origami” woven from alternating ups and downs of warps and wefts. Shapes can be maintained from the rigidity of red brass, allowing permanent viewing of creations. The product has already gone on sale, with two versions of three 150mm squares and three 180mm squares.
Infinite latent possibilities with new texture KANAORI
Proposed application for KANAORI at the Stockholm International Furniture Fair
ORIAMI commercialized under the supervision of the Japan Origami Association
“Rose” and “High Heels” folded from ORIAMI
We spoke with President Ishikawa regarding the attractiveness of managing a company in Tokyo. “Above all else, the brand of Tokyo is most attractive. When we press our case overseas and are asked, ‘Where is your company from?”, answering ‘We are a Tokyo company’ gives a different impression. Therefore, we list our domain as ‘Tokyo’. Also, it is attractive there are many exhibitions with reach on a global level. Being located in Tokyo makes it easy to participate in those exhibitions, bringing the world closer. Also, there are many exhibitions at the City level, making it easy to work together with people at maker firms, and there are many events for interaction with different industries. These events give rise to networking, having mutual factory tours, visiting overseas and engaging in joint manufacturing.”
Another major benefit of being located in Tokyo is enriched support for SMEs.
“Until now we have taken advantage of various subsidies including subsidies for new product development and new technology development, subsidies for market development, and subsidies for overseas exhibitions etc. For new product development, receiving such subsidies makes it easy to get in-house consensus, since it basically signifies being appraised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.”
Through leveraging the “Tokyo” brand and related support, Ishikawa Wire Netting is aiming to expand business possibilities further.