Through a diverse and comprehensive product line-up, CKD Corporation will play a key role in automating the factories of the future.
“In the years to come, we are aiming to become a Total FA Worldwide Supplier by integrating automated machinery and component product technologies.”
Kazunori Kajimoto, Representative Director, Chairman & CEO, CKD Corporation
Established in 1943, CKD Corporation has been engaged in the research and development of automation and fluid control technologies for almost 80 years.
With a commitment to new technology and high-quality products, CKD has been able to differentiate itself from competitors while simultaneously developing and producing a diverse line-up of products, which are widely used within today’s society.
CKD’s business is centered on two fields: automated machinery and components. “We have various types of automated machinery such as lithium-ion battery manufacturing equipment, packaging machines for pharmaceuticals and food products, and inspection machines for electronic circuit boards. The company’s component products include air and electric actuators and fluid control components, which are used in all types of manufacturing sites, including semiconductor, automotive and electronic parts manufacturing. It is hoped that by integrating technologies from automated machinery and components, CKD corporation will achieve its aim of becoming a global supplier of factory automation (FA) components,” says chairman and CEO, Kazunori Kajimoto.
It is worth noting, of course, that the Company is already a major global player, with its chemical valves for semiconductor manufacturing equipment occupying high market share worldwide. And it is the semiconductor industry, a rapidly-changing sector, on which CKD has pledged to focus its efforts in the future.
Though already manufacturing and selling components which control fluids such as chemicals and process gases for semiconductor device manufacturing facilities, it is anticipated that the market will continue to grow long-term. With this in mind, CKD has recently completed construction of a new facility in Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture. According to Mr. Kajimoto, the aim of the new plant is “to meet the expected increase in demand for components for the semiconductor industry”.
Alongside its counterpart in Kasugai, the new Hokuriku Plant in Ishikawa will manufacture valves for chemical solutions, while valves for process gases will be manufactured at the company’s Tohoku Plant.
Beyond the semiconductor industry, CKD prides itself on the development and marketing of products that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions – with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
In particular, Mr. Kajimoto highlights the company’s long-life products, which are used in production lines in all industrial sectors. With a product life that is four times longer than conventional products, customers are no longer required to maintain their machines with such regularity, leading to an overall reduction in waste.
In terms of its international presence, although CKD has traditionally focused on developing its own technologies without input from other companies, this too is changing. There is a growing recognition that increasing partnerships with domestic and foreign entities leads to a more efficient overall service.
Mr. Kajimoto again: “In order to deliver optimal products, technologies, and services to our customers quickly and reliably, we have established a global sales network encompassing Europe, North and South America, and Asia.”
That network now totals 170 production sites and bases around the world. In addition to its existing five plants in Japan, CKD boasts plants in China, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia and North America. The last of these, completed in April of this year in Austin, Texas, has recently begun the production of semiconductor manufacturing components.
With CKD’s overseas sales ratio currently standing at about 30%, it is hoped that the corporation’s global expansion will see this figure rise to 40% in the next four years. This will involve an increased focus on Europe, where as Mr. Kajimoto acknowledges, CKD’s sales channels are still underdeveloped.
Not that global expansion is the only thing on Mr. Kajimoto’s mind. Indeed, as the Corporation approaches its 80th anniversary, CKD’s chairman is anticipating what the future holds.
“As we get older,” he says, “we begin to see the whole picture and think about others in the domestic society, the international community, and about the global environment. It is important to accept a little inconvenience, rather than simply pursuing material abundance. In the Chinese book Lao Tzu, there is a phrase about ‘knowing what is enough’. It talks about being satisfied with one’s lot. If this concept of ‘contentment’ were to spread throughout the world, I am sure that it would be a better place.”