Mass production of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic by lamination press method. “KIBAN:LIGHT”, which makes use of printed circuit board technology was developedMIZUTA Seisakusho, Inc.
KIBAN:LIGHT series KAGEE. Light is emitted from LEDs by arranging the circuit board on the rear side
Points to be noted
- Contribute to uniform quality and development of new applications of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, by applying the production processes used in mass production
- Develop lighting with printed circuit board technology by collaboration with space designers
- Promote product development in the future, such as WoodCarbon with a natural feel
In recent years, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (Hereinafter referred to as CFRP) is attracting attention. CFRP is a high-performance material with characteristics such as lightweight with specific gravity equal to 1/4th that of iron, high strength, and high stiffness.
In addition to being commonly used for large parts of aircraft, artificial satellites, and racing car bodies, CFRP is being put to new uses in the automotive industry aimed at reducing weight and improving fuel efficiency. The material is being increasingly used for high-end products such as golf club shafts, and fishing rods.
However, CFRP was manufactured using a method that was close to manual work due to the lack of an industrial production system, and there were issues in terms of cost, the time required for manufacturing, and quality management.
Mizuta Seisakusho, Inc., which was founded more than 80 years ago, is a complete assembly manufacturer of printed circuit boards, and terminal blocks. The company with a track record of manufacturing and processing Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic (Hereinafter referred to as GFRP), has taken up manufacturing of new parts and products of CFRP with uniform quality, and continues to strive for developing new applications of CFRP by applying the lamination press method that was used in the mass production of GFRP.
As a novel application of CFRP, the company considered that new value could be created by combining CFRP with printed circuit boards, which is their primary business. They manufactured light-emitting rods by integrally molding a printed-circuit board with a light-emitting circuit and inserting it between 2 CFRP sheets. Light-emitting rods are approximately 60 cm long and can be extended by connecting them. When some of these prototypes were displayed at exhibitions, they were well received, and the company was able to develop new collaborations.
Among them, they met space designers, which was a cross-cultural encounter for the company, and paved the way for the next project. They held several meetings with the space designers who appreciated the worth of the light-emitting rods as “Cool wiring patterns on boards”, and after repeated fine-tuning, lighting fixtures “Mo-DULO” in the “KIBAN:LIGHT” series was completed.
In the photograph above, integrally molded CFRP with a printed circuit board based on a unique idea is used in the black lighting, and the wiring pattern on the printed circuit board is used as it is in the white lighting. By arranging LEDs on the printed circuit board, and using black CFRP boards which blocks the light, and white CFRP boards through which light and the printed circuit board are visible as it is, makes light emitted from the two to appear differently. The lights in the photograph have been assembled using 12 pentagonal boards, and it is possible to re-assemble the board into any shape by removing and rearranging the boards. It is also possible to combine both the black and white boards and hang them like a pendant light.
“KAGEE” with an improved design, was announced as new lighting of the KIBAN:LIGHT series. A printed circuit board is usually manufactured by using a base material having a copper foil affixed to GFRP. The surface of printed circuit boards is generally painted in green with an ink called “Resist”, this process was omitted to use copper as part of the design. Copper is etched on one surface for creating the designs, and functionality of the printed circuit board is retained on the other side and LEDs are mounted for emitting light. A shadow-like design emerges with this process. Copper changes over time due to natural aging producing the aura and richness that come with aging. A rechargeable battery is provided at the base which can power the LEDs for approximately 10 hours with one charge. Easy to carry as the size is close to A5-size paper, and it weighs just 195 g.
From February 2019, KAGEE is being sold at Tokyu Hands stores in Shibuya, Tokyo, and is also available online. The company undertakes customized manufacturing, such as products of different designs and sizes.
The company is promoting the development of other applications and expansion of CFRP.
“WoodCarbon” is manufactured by adding wood grain to obtain natural texture to the lightness and strength that are unique to CFRP. The company has tied up with furniture and fixture manufacturers and is exploring various ways to utilize WoodCarbon, such as interior design panels, finishing material for products, and kitchen panels. The company will continue its marketing activities to manufacturers who want to develop furniture that is different from traditional furniture, by combining its circuit board technology, for example, emitting light from only a part of the furniture.
At present, the company is focusing on the expansion of CFRP, which is a thermosetting plastic, but they also have a track record of manufacturing and processing CFRTP which is a thermoplastic resin. In the future, the company will promote mass production and application development of CFRP, with the main focus on WoodCarbon, and aim to build a future where this high-performance material can be used in everyday scenarios.
Interview Date: February 4, 2019
As an integrated assembly manufacturer, we are a small-scale EMS company working to meet our customer needs through manufacturing resin molding parts and parts for printed boards and terminal blocks as well as providing design and production of assembled products. We are also engaged in the development of manufacturing technologies and applications, aiming for the industrial production of the recently popular carbon fiber composite materials.
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