BREAKTHROUGH

Making sure of the future. Venture into the medical industry and take up the challenge to develop “Cellulose nanofibers”Nisshin Industrial Ltd.

2018.12.27

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All-resin (plastic) forceps manufactured in multiple colors. Product was manufactured for medical use, but can be used for other applications

summary

  • Ventured into manufacturing of medical equipment with a desire to contribute towards the aging society and promote a welfare society
  • Contribution to enhancing the work environment in the field of medicine by developing an all-resin (plastic) forceps
  • Took up the challenge of developing “Cellulose nanofiber”, a next-generation advanced material

Nissin Kogyo Co., Ltd. believes in “Continuously raising the bar” for technological development in injection molding. The company focuses on mold design, and research and development, in addition to injection molding, and is engaged in developing various molding techniques as well as mass production of parts. Among them, “Development of environment-friendly medical equipment” and “Molding technique using material containing cellulose nanofibers” that was a breakthrough from existing molding techniques are the results of the company’s unique technological development.

Ventured into the development of medical equipment to break through the status quo

Manufacturing of automobile parts accounted for approximately 80% of the company’s total business and was a concern for the company. This is because of the shift of plastic component production for automobiles from Japan to overseas and continuation of this situation will lead to an endless price war in Japan and might spell financial disaster for the company.

As a solution to this problem, the company took the initiative of venturing into “Development of environment-friendly medical equipment”. Development of the “All-resin (plastic) forceps” was a part of this initiative.

Initially, the company considered venturing into the medical industry with a desire of contributing to the aging society that is approaching and promoting a welfare society. They had no contacts in or knowledge of the medical industry, and a situation continued where they were unable to enter the industry. They got an opportunity in 2016 when a trading company dealing with medical equipment asked them to develop plastic forceps, and they were able to start the manufacture of medical equipment as they had wanted.
They took approximately 1.5 years to develop the forceps. During that time, a subsidy was also offered by Ota ward in Tokyo, where the company is located, which helped them to devote the time required for development.

Used forceps can be collected and recycled. All-resin (plastic) forceps

The company was particular about the material of the forceps during development. That it should be all-resin (plastic) without using any metal parts. For this reason, the forceps can be recycled as plastic or can be disposed safely. It has the same shape as stainless-steel forceps, and the grip can be adjusted for holding hard as well as soft objects. It is lighter than stainless steel, making them easy to use and significantly less cumbersome. The forceps make less noise during use, reducing the stress of both doctors and patients.

Seiya Takemoto, representative director of the company, said, “Due to concepts such as sterilization and infection prevention, there is a shift to substituting medical equipment manufactured using stainless steel with plastic, and the trend now is to use disposable items”.
Plastic takes into consideration not only the hygiene aspect, but also the environmental aspect, as it can be collected after use and recycled into other products, and requires less fuel for transportation as plastic is lighter than stainless steel.

While the company focus is on the development of such products using plastic, another unique initiative of the company is “Molding technique using materials containing cellulose nanofibers (Hereinafter, abbreviated as CNF)”.

Took up the challenge of technology development for “Cellulose nanofiber” material

CNF has been attracting significant attention as a new material of the next generation in which plant fiber has been micro-refined to the Nano level.
At a time when the company was considering taking the initiative in the industry to work on developing such materials, they received an unexpected request for cooperation in development. The company with its excellent development capability was selected for technical development using CNF, which is considered to be difficult even for major manufacturers.
CNF has excellent features such as lightweight, high strength, high elasticity, low thermal expansion, and high specific surface area. CNF requires advanced technology for optimization due to its hydrophilic nature before it can be used in a wide range of applications, such as industrial materials.

The company solved the problem that was very difficult, even for large manufacturers, using a proprietary technique. The company is at the stage of where they can manufacture prototypes of the forceps using plastic material containing CNF, and their technical achievement has reached the level where they can showcase the product in exhibitions. The company is moving ahead with technical development for expanding the use of CNF in materials related to aviation and residential buildings, in addition to their core product of automobile components.

Plastic is a precious resource

Plastic is an indispensable material for this company that mainly focuses on injection molding. Shigeru Takemoto, executive director of the company, said the following.
“At present, microplastics found in the oceans have become a problem. However, this is due to ‘Illegal dumping’. Therefore, recycling of plastic should be increased. I believe that plastic will be used carefully as an effective resource”.

Plastic, which is light and versatile, should be put into practical applications as an essential resource and used widely in the fields of healthcare and welfare. This is the hope of the company.
If plastic, which is finding widespread use in various fields, can be produced from naturally-derived raw material such as CNF, then it will be an extraordinary contribution towards environmental preservation and saving of natural resources.
The motto of the company is “Small yet best-in-class”, and they are hoping that more possibilities will open up for them.

The company is located in Ota-ku, Tokyo, a 3-minute walk from Musashi-Nitta station on Mekama line. The area is lively with factories of small and medium-sized enterprises spread all around.

Interview Date: December 11, 2018

company information

Nissin Industry, which states "breakthrough as usual" as a management policy/quality policy, has developed technologies that break the core of existing molding technology. We realized develpments such as "Orientation Control Technology" (patent), "Paintless Metallic Resin Molding Technology," "Super Thick-Walled Molding Technology," "Development of Environmentally-friendly Medical equipment" that enable mass production of high strength resin.

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