Wednesday, Apr 17, 2024
logo
Update At 14:00    USD/EUR 0,94  ↓-0.0006        USD/JPY 154,64  ↓-0.009        USD/KRW 1.385,01  ↓-4.48        EUR/JPY 164,31  ↑+0.148        Crude Oil 89,49  ↓-0.53        Asia Dow 3.677,93  ↓-87.68        TSE 1.814,00  ↑+11        Japan: Nikkei 225 38.318,11  ↓-153.09        S. Korea: KOSPI 2.608,25  ↓-1.38        China: Shanghai Composite 3.044,26  ↑+37.196        Hong Kong: Hang Seng 16.238,09  ↓-10.88        Singapore: Straits Times 3,19  ↑+0.015        DJIA 22,24  ↑+0.17        Nasdaq Composite 15.865,25  ↓-19.768        S&P 500 5.051,41  ↓-10.41        Russell 2000 1.967,48  ↓-8.2326        Stoxx Euro 50 4.916,99  ↓-67.49        Stoxx Europe 600 498,21  ↓-7.72        Germany: DAX 17.766,23  ↓-260.35        UK: FTSE 100 7.820,36  ↓-145.17        Spain: IBEX 35 10.526,90  ↓-160.3        France: CAC 40 7.932,61  ↓-112.5        

Koizumi brightening up the market

Flag USA Flag JAPAN
Interview - April 18, 2023

Koizumi Lighting is committed to serving its customers with high-quality products, such as the ANDON series.

SUSUMU SAKUMA, PRESIDENT OF KOIZUMI LIGHTING CO., LTD.
SUSUMU SAKUMA | PRESIDENT OF KOIZUMI LIGHTING CO., LTD.

Japanese monozukuri is all about seeking product perfection through minute attention to detail. In modern times, however, it's very important to respond to market demands through quality, cost and delivery. Can you give us your take on monozukuri? What have been the advantages it brings to Japanese companies over the years?

In the past, Japan was very competitive in consumer electronics products, such as Sony Walkman and Panasonic TVs. In terms of quality, I think the strength of the manufacturing industry as a whole was represented by Toyota Motor Corporation, for example, in terms of quality in manufacturing. Compared to its counterparts in other countries, it was by far the best.

Over time, the Lean Production System of the United States, which organized, systematized, and generalized the Toyota Production System, spread. Currently, as in Germany's Industry 4.0, the world is also beginning to change its approach to manufacturing automation and data-driven AI for optimal operations.

And I believe that many system manufacturers have started to incorporate digital technology into pre-manufacturing processes such as development and design, and post-manufacturing processes such as logistics and services, and many system manufacturers have started to grow.

Although we do not have that level of technology, such evolution has made it possible to analyze elemental data and other digital data for handling light, enabling better manufacturing and optimal processing. Our company's technological capabilities are far from Industry 4.0, but we will strive to bring it closer.

 

Around the 90s and 2000s, with the emergence of LEDs, we saw that the market became flooded with a lot of very cost-effective, basic products in the way of the lighting that they would give. Manufacturers had to reinvent themselves because they couldn’t compete on price, so they had to create lighting products that give emotions, that give something more than just the price point. Do you agree with that analysis, and how does your company go beyond simple lightning to also offer emotions and appeal?

To your first question, I agree with the idea that the manufacturers had to reform themselves. I think the biggest reason is that Japan, in particular, is backed by a history of fluorescent lamps.

Fluorescent lamps are generally made by lamp manufacturers using large-scale facilities. However, once LEDs were put to practical use, the semiconductor industry began to make them. This means that companies like ours that do not have lamp manufacturing facilities can now enter the manufacturing market.

I think the biggest change was that this came at a very high speed. In the past, lamp manufacturers led the lighting industry. However, once LEDs were commercialized, anyone could become a player. Even if you didn't have the manufacturing equipment, if you had semiconductors and used LED modules, you could manufacture new lighting. In other words, the fact that lamp manufacturers no longer have an advantage was a major change more than 10 years ago. Also, regarding the packaging of LEDs, it is now possible to do it in-house and complete the product; if you have LED modules, you can become a lighting manufacturer.

When we thought about what our strength should be, we thought it should be the quality of light, so we started developing fixtures that incorporate that idea. LED light sources produce a straight, stable light, and they are also very bright. Since the luminance is very strong, it is a matter of how to collect the light.

For example, with COB (Chip On Board), since many small LED chips are gathered in one place, the power is very strong, but the luminance is also very strong, which was a challenge. So we improved the design of the luminaire so that the quality of light could be increased and maintained. I believe that was a major milestone.

To solve the problem of luminance intensity, we took the concept of "andon" from the Japanese Edo period (1603-1868). The "Andon" was created based on this concept, and was designed to allow the user to sense not only the surrounding environment but also the light in the distance by reducing the luminance of the luminous surface while maintaining the light at the user’s feet. By controlling the luminance and maintaining an appropriate brightness, both visibility as an "andon" and light to the feet is achieved. The faces of people passing by on the sidewalk, illuminated trees, illumination, and the lights of the city in the distance come to life, making it possible to create a more effective nighttime scene. As is the case with other products that consider disaster prevention, one of our concerns about the quality of light is the idea of contributing to the creation of a safe and secure city where comfortable light lasts for a long distance by creating products like these.


Andon


The X-Pro Series is a series of luminaires for retail facilities that focuses on the quality of light by reviewing the optical and structural design from scratch and combining optical units and frame structures to create a light distribution design that focuses on "light without flare" and "evenly illuminated surfaces" so that it can be used in a variety of retail spaces. We have created lighting fixtures for retail facilities that focus on the quality of light. The downlights and spotlights are widely deployed, and the design concept for the downlights has been unified and unitized to provide a seamless range of apertures, frame colors, and power ranges. The use of a PWM/DALI power supply allows control down to a lower limit of 0.1% when the lights are off, creating a quality light space with a sense of calmness and luxury, similar to when incandescent lights are dimmed. The design provides a sense of unity, especially for designs that distribute lights continuously, ensuring a sense of brightness and illuminance in the space.

 

The Japanese government has been very outspokenly ambitious about reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. By 2030 there’s a need for a reduction of 46%. Koizumi has said that it aims to be an environmental solutions company. Could you give us your take as to why you're rebranding to be an environmental solutions company, and what technologies do you think are key to achieving this goal?

First, to deliver luminaires with higher energy consumption efficiency. In other words, to achieve better brightness with less energy. This is a natural goal for a lighting manufacturer.

The second is to contribute to the three "Rs": recycle, reuse, and reduce.

For example, by reducing the number of materials used by half, energy consumption in commercialization can be reduced.

We are also researching the use of environmentally friendly materials, such as biodegradable resins so that they can be incorporated into our products.

Third, we are also developing modular components for markets such as stores and institutions that can be used longer by simply replacing internal components.

After 10 years of use of the same fixture, the condenser will no longer function, so the idea is to replace only the internal parts rather than the entire fixture.

Not all of the parts are replaceable, but we are still researching this while taking into consideration what the obstacles are in doing so. These are just a few of the ways we are working toward the SDGs and the goal of carbon neutrality.

 

You joined DALI, which is a digital addressable lighting interface in 2014. This is an international protocol that stipulates how lighting devices should work, whether it's communicating to the device, or from the device back to the user. You also launched in 2018, TRee, an IoT-based system. Could you give us an insight into these technologies and how can DX transform the humble light?

When comparing residential lighting to retail and institutional lighting, retail and institutional lighting is in a special place and the space is larger than in a house; TRee is for medium and small spaces such as residences and retail stores, while DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) is for larger spaces such as large buildings and DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) is for large spaces such as large buildings and small to medium-sized office buildings. However, what they both have in common is the use of IoT technology to control the devices.

TRee was originally developed as a lighting system for residential use but has now been expanded to be used in stores. DALI, on the other hand, is an international standard that has been used to link multiple equipment devices as a building solution.

Originally, our specialty was lighting for residential spaces. However, we wanted to be able to support stores and facilities as well. To that end, we opened an R&D center in 2017, and at that facility, we use DALI to interlock and control lighting, blinds, air conditioners, and many other types of equipment.

With DALl, when the outdoors becomes brighter, the interior lighting dims, and when the area is unoccupied, the air conditioning is turned down. When there is no one in the area, the air conditioning is turned down. When the outside light becomes too bright, the blinds are lowered, and when a person is detected in the area, the air conditioning is turned on optimally.

This project was not originally started for SDGs purposes.

It is an attempt to change the lighting according to the movement of the sun throughout the day.

Specifically, the colour temperature is low because of the yellow light before work, the colour temperature increases to white at 9:00 a.m., and returns to yellow again at lunchtime. After the lunch break, the light turns white again, and in the evening, the colour temperature changes to low again, so this light tells employees what to do and when to leave. This is also effective in preventing overtime work. When the colour temperature becomes lower, it means that it is a signal to go home because it is time to relax at that time of the day.

Air conditioners and blinds linked to this technology can also be automatically controlled. For example, if the light exceeds a certain lumen (luminous flux value), the blinds will automatically lower, and the air conditioner will be controlled accordingly, thus saving energy and contributing to carbon neutrality.

 

You have worked with some very high-profile clients like Muji on projects in Chengdu and Shanghai. You've also worked with the Marriott Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, and even Bloomingdale's in the United States. Could you tell us how you plan to further grow this commercial side of the business?

Let me talk about the commercial field. First of all, I would like to talk about how and why we ventured overseas. For lighting for stores and facilities, we first approached Japanese global brands.

However, they did not accept us because we do not specialize in the store and facility field.

So, we approached the overseas market directly to establish a presence so that we could participate in the auction bidding of global brands.

We then succeeded in proposing lighting for bids on Japanese properties by importing them back to Japan from overseas.

In entering overseas markets, we already had our factory in China and expanded our sales base to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, and Vietnam. This is what we have achieved so far.

Concerning the future expansion of sales in overseas markets, we feel the need to re-examine whether our current factory in China is sufficient.

The specifications for power supplies in Japan are 100 volts, which is different from those overseas.

To expand in overseas markets, devices need to be volt-free in terms of specifications, so overseas factories are necessary, but we think it will be difficult to do this with just a factory in China, and we are looking for a different area.

We also wanted to go out to Vietnam to have a sales office and investigate the possibility of opening a factory there, but that work has been temporarily suspended as it did not work out due to Corona.

We are looking at somewhere in Asia for our next location.

If we find the best location, we would like to expand into Southeast and East Asia.

The reason we are based in Singapore is that many countries in Asia have the potential for GDP growth, and we want to target those countries.


TRee Case Study: N Residence
Design and construction: DAIWA HOUSE INDUSTRY CO., LTD.


You've worked with big international lighting brands like XAL and Lucifer. Can you explain how these partnerships are helping in your product development?

Regarding collaboration with overseas lighting manufacturers, our options vary from country to country.

We may collaborate on proposals that are appropriate for that country or location, or we may use our lighting where we can satisfy them.

As for the influence on product development, it is naturally stimulating, and the way of thinking differs from country to country. In terms of architecture itself, there are differences between Japan's culture of wood and Europe's culture of stone, and the corresponding fixture structures and methods of making fixtures change, so it is a learning experience in many ways.

 

Let's say we come back to interview you again on the last day of your presidency. What would you like to tell us about your goals and dreams for the company by that time, and what would you like to have achieved by then?

Since we are a manufacturer, our basic philosophy is customer-oriented. We have focused on how to satisfy our customers. Our objective is to listen to what our customers are having problems with and to solve those problems with lighting. For a long time, we have focused on that area.

The goal that I want to achieve in my last days as president is that Koizumi has become a globally active brand. I want people around the world to recognize that Koizumi Lighting is a worldwide brand and a company that contributes to society. If we have achieved that, I will be very happy.

  0 COMMENTS