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A sustainable approach to fluid control technologies

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Article - November 21, 2022

KITZ Corporation aims to contribute to a sustainable future through the pursuit of fluid control technology and materials development.

VALVE EQUIPPED WITH SENSORS AND OTHER DEVICES

Since its foundation in 1951, KITZ Corporation has become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of valves, and Japan’s largest company of its kind.

“Today, we continue to upgrade out production systems, including the use of in-house foundries, and our quality assurance system ensures that at all operating stages, our materials, products, and services meet customer requirements,” says Makoto Kohno, President of KITZ. “We also employ a just-in-time production system to dramatically improve production efficiency, enabling us to respond to varied market demands. Kitz strives to lead the flow control industry by becoming the most versatile valve manufacturer.”

To fulfill this goal, the company has expanded its product range through a strategy of in-house design and acquisition to offer more convenient product sourcing to customers. Just this year KITZ updated its corporate philosophy, “to strive to build a robust global environment and sustainable future by supporting societal infrastructure through our advancements in fluid control technologies and materials.”

This includes providing equipment manufacturers with solutions through its valve and fluid control products. For instance, one of the company’s major markets is the semiconductor industry.

“We're not only focusing on semiconductor manufacturing itself, but rather the whole industry of peripherals,” explains Mr. Kohno. “For example, a data center has many servers which generate a lot of heat, so it's necessary to use air conditioning (AC) to cool down the equipment. Many of our butterfly valves are used in those AC units.”

“With a large amount of water used by a typical semiconductor fab being ultra-purified water, KITZ supplies high quantities of butterfly valves to the sector.  “The semiconductor industry is a massive industry and there are many approaches we can take, so this would certainly make a significant contribution to the KITZ Group’s sales from 2022 to 2024,” says Mr. Kohno.

Beside semiconductors, the fine chemical field is another area of growing demand, with clients requiring increasingly cleaner valves. “We are doing research and development so we can cater to the growing needs of fine chemical plants.”

Digitalization and decarbonization

Digitalization is considered an essential element in improving energy efficiency in various industries, with digital transformation also set to transform fluid control systems. Following KITZ’s Long-term Management Vision and Medium-term Management Plan that released in February 2022, “Digitalization” and “Decarbonization” were emphasised as the key areas to accelerate focus on growth segments such as semiconductors, fine chemicals, and hydrogen.

“In terms of valves, we are using DX in a system we have developed called the KITZ SMART MONITORING SYSTEM (KISMOS) which uses a sensor in a valve that monitors the flow and accumulates this data on the cloud. We can then provide this information to our customers, and based on this data we can determine the appropriate time to make a replacement, or determine the nature of any abnormality,” explains Mr. Kohno.  Recently, we have launched a new service-based business using DX to handle that data. KISMOS is applicable not only to our valves but other companies’ valves as well. We want to use KISMOS to show our value, and get customers to switch our valves.”

Going forward, KITZ’s future focus is to contribute to the sustainable growth of society through digitalization and the control of new energy source, says the company president.

“Of course, the company is operated by people, so human resources are vital to maintaining a sustainable company. It is my mission to create a working environment which makes workers feel more comfortable, proud and satisfied to be working at KITZ. We need to continue to be chosen by society as well as be recognized by stakeholders for the sustainable management that we conduct as a company.”

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