BreakThrough Interview

Realizing the Exterior Marking of Airplanes and Bullet Trains with StickersSANNO Techno-Arts Co., Ltd.


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Institutional-use labels made by SANNO Techno-Arts

  • This article covers the story of a one-and-only manufacturer that manufactures institutional-use labels that are resistant to sunlight, wind, and rain, that do not peel off, and that are colorfast.

Manufactures industrial labels resistant to outdoor environments

SANNO Techno-Arts Co., Ltd., established in 1967, has carried out the distribution of 3M Company’s products as well as printing and forming as a specified processing agent of Sumitomo 3M Limited (currently 3M Japan). Now, its core business consists of the manufacturing of industrial labels and stickers used for railway vehicles and aircraft. The company specializes in the manufacturing of nameplates of priority seats and vehicle numbers, logo marks of East Japan Railway Company’s bullet trains, etc., and it provides vehicle manufacturers with labels that feature long-term weather resistance, without peeling off or discoloration caused by sunlight, wind, or rain. Even markings that look like painting at a glance are often made by stickers.

In addition, SANNO Techno-Arts receives many orders for labels and stickers, such as manufacturer logos of agricultural equipment, specification chart on outdoor units of air conditioners, and character designs of playground equipment in parks. The company has also manufactured phosphorescent stickers after the Great East Japan Earthquake, such as for indicating height above sea level and explaining evacuation sites used in parks, upon the request of a local government in the coastal area. Although there are many other companies in the same trade throughout Japan that are printing stickers, SANNO Techno-Arts explains that there are hardly any companies specializing in outdoor use like itself. Furthermore, another feature of the company is the fact that it has direct business with clients, instead of subcontracting and sub-subcontracting work which are common in the printing industry.

Logo mark of the Hokkaido Shinkansen

Know-how of aircraft markings that other companies cannot copy

While delivering various kinds of stickers (seat number, no-smoking marks, precautions, etc.) attached inside aircraft at the request of a manufacturer that handles interior parts of aircraft, SANNO Techno-Arts started receiving orders for exterior markings of aircraft. Based on the proposed marking images provided by the PR Dept. of airline companies and advertising agencies, the company creates final images while adjusting them so that the patterns do not appear distorted when attaching the stickers to the curved exterior of aircraft. The know-how to adjust the image according to the aircraft model, such as Boeing 777 and Airbus 320, is also the company's strength. President Yu Tanaka states, “I believe other companies cannot copy [our products], because we have the know-how obtained through trial and error.”

A large-sized printer is used to print the completed image drawing in sections on 1m square stickers, and these stickers are attached to and wrapped on the aircraft. In the past, it was time-consuming to repaint the painted markings on aircraft, but the replacement work of stickers can be completed overnight. Surprisingly, the company says the attaching work of stickers can be done easier than painting work. If, by any chance, the sticker falls off while in flight, there is a possibility that a serious accident may be caused, so the company has obtained certification under the ISO standard for the aerospace industry. The company says it is recently receiving more orders from low-cost carriers (LCC), which change campaigns over short periods of time.

Exterior markings of Solaseed Air

Putting “energy” into the labels.

Mr. Tanaka previously worked at a foreign-owned IT company and, after joining SANNO Techno-Arts, he has actively carried out the implementation of IT in the workplace. He states, “The sales office and factory were located in separate places back when I joined the company, so I connected the two bases with a network to make it possible to share information between them, and I created a database for production management. Recently, we have adopted a cloud service, so that sales personnel can access internal information from wherever they are.” The company could carry out the implementation smoothly, thanks to Mr. Tanaka having taken the initiative to integrate IT. Mr. Tanaka says that there are not many examples of SMEs that are about the same size as SANNO Techno-Arts that is carrying out IT utilization to this extent. In recent years, the company has implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) system, making efforts to reinforce sales capabilities. There are also many cases where suggestions are made by sales personnel, leveraging the benefit of being able to have direct contact with clients.

Mr. Tanaka shares, “Our company carries out contracted manufacturing in which we faithfully meet the requests from clients, but we hope to deliver our products with even a little bit of our feelings put into the products.” As a way of expressing this, the company has laid down the management principle of “Putting ‘energy' into the labels.”

President Yu Tanaka

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SANNO Techno-Arts Co., Ltd.

its core business consists of the manufacturing of industrial labels and stickers used for railway vehicles and aircraft.

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