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Meichu to play a key role in the automation of industrial furnaces

Article - October 25, 2023

Utilizing its accumulated know-how and core technology, Meichu is looking to ensure that the furnaces of tomorrow can contribute to an automated industry.

“In the casting industry, there are still many dangerous jobs that people have to carry out.“

Mitsukane Nakashima, President, Meichu Co. Ltd.

Since its establishment in 1987, Meichu has provided casting equipment centered on aluminum melting furnaces as well as material production, sales and supplies. Quality is seen as a key factor in its success, with some of its technology differentiating it from other companies.

"Our monozukuri process in manufacturing keeps us competitive," says company president Mitsukane Nakashima. "Our biggest strengths are the quality of our molten metals and our temperature control technology. Our furnaces can be used more frequently and maintenance is easier."

One major shift in the industry, and globally, is the evolution of artificial intelligence and Mr. Nakashima sees this as a huge opportunity, with unmanned factory operations including autonomous driving.

"Engineers and factory workers will be doing more of the brain work rather than working in the factory and doing the actual labor," he predicts.

Collaboration is an important part of Meichu’s outlook and, along with technical alliances in Thailand and China, a world-leading autonomous factory with Mino Industry is currently in development.

"It will become a model factory around the globe. We are also introducing energy-saving furnaces and manpower auxiliary equipment such as the automatic ingredient loader for the furnace. This increases the efficiency and quality of the molten metal," explains Mr. Nakashima, who adds that Meichu is looking at Vietnam and India as new locations for bases, starting small with local companies.

With thoughts on the years ahead, which includes the commercialization of a hydrogen gas burner, the president says he has two clear missions: environmental contribution and employee satisfaction.

"I would like to contribute back to the Earth as much as possible, with energy-saving products and reduced energy waste. In the casting industry, I want to see automation reduce the dangers faced by workers in the field and provide further opportunities to pursue more creative jobs."