Ichinose specializes in the manufacture of high-quality, high-performing valves built to operate in the most demanding conditions, ensuring no leakages and a lifespan of 40-50 years.
Japanese manufacturing is still renowned for churning out high-quality, specialized products, while neighboring competitors in China and Taiwan have focused on the production of mass-produced, lower-quality goods. A case in point: the valve manufacturing industry, where valve production encompasses varying levels of quality, from high- and mid-quality, to low-quality, general-purpose valves.
With labor costs much lower than Japan, regional competitors lead the market when it comes to low-cost, general-purpose valves. “The difference in labor costs significantly impacts valve production expenses, especially the low-cost general-purpose valves, giving countries like China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia a competitive advantage,” says Satoshi Isse, representative director of Japanese valve manufacturer Ichinose. “However, various industries demand valves of varying quality levels. Our primary aim is to specialize in selling high-quality valves in the overseas market, which can only be manufactured using technology exclusive to Japan.”
Established in 1949, Ichinose specializes in the manufacture of high-quality, high-performing valves created using the company’s unique technology cultivated over 70 years. Designed and built to operate safely and securely even in the harshest circumstances, including high temperature and high pressure environments, Ichinose valves are used in all industries in fields, with the company’s clients aware that paying the extra price for a Japanese-made valve is worth the investment. While the initial cost of an Ichinose valve may be higher than those from China or Taiwan, the investment pays off in the long run, as explained by Mr. Isse.
“The primary distinguishing feature of all our products lies in the longevity of the valve's main body, which is crafted from stainless steel or iron, ensuring a lifespan of approximately 40-50 years. Even if you need to replace the seal or other internal components, the valve remains in service. While the initial cost may be higher, in the long run, you reduce operational expenses due to its extended lifespan and ease of maintenance,” he says.
“In contrast, valves manufactured in China and Taiwan, while more affordable upfront, typically require replacement after just a year or two, especially under high-temperature or high-pressure conditions. We believe that the long-term usability of our valves will make them highly valued and sought-after in the overseas market.”
And another distinguishing factor of Ichinose valves is that they guarantee no costly leakages, as is the case with its flagship product, Espero. “In the past, many trading companies in Osaka used to manufacture their own valves. However, these valves were of inferior quality and prone to leaks,” adds Mr. Isse. “This was the driving force behind our decision to develop the Espero. While the price of the Espero is relatively high, its quality surpasses that of conventional valves significantly.”
Having built its reputation in Japan over decades serving the petrochemical and construction industries, among others, Inchinose now aims to expand its global presence, embarking on its international endeavors confident in the fact that its valves are cut above the competition. The Japanese firm’s initial focus is on entering the U.S. market, where it recently took part in a valve exhibition held in Houston, Texas, with the objective of identifying potential local distributors. “We have identified promising candidates for local distributors and are currently in the process of reaching out to them,” reveals the presidents.
“Because our goal is to market high-quality specialized valves, our marketing efforts are highly targeted,” he adds. “Our branding strategy centers on showcasing our technology, reliability, and superior performance.”