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Penstone’s Technology Enables the Improvement of Vehicle Quality

Article - May 27, 2024

Penstone’s technology allows it to create lightweight and compact products for automotive clients, ranging from rearview mirrors (RVM) to assembled glass (A/G), with the company focusing on further expansion in Asia in the future.

One relatively overlooked aspect in the sustainability revolution is the necessity for lightweight and compact components. This need is particularly pronounced in the automotive industry. The extra weight of just one gram translates to an increase in the energy required for vehicle movement, making the translation to electric vehicles (EVs) demand ultra-lightweight components. One company offering a compact solution in the realm of RVM is Japan’s Penstone Corporation.

The company, whose predecessor was established in 1918, specializes in the manufacturing of automotive components, from A/G to RVM. Penstone is a full-service supplier with a seamless process from design and development to manufacturing. It possesses essential technologies for processes required in the manufacturing of A/G and RVM, including resin molding, painting, mirror fabrication, lighting parts manufacturing, power unit manufacturing, and total assembly processes. With the combination of these technologies, Penstone provides products to the world.

According to Mr. Hikaru Nakamura, the president of the company, Penstone aligns its processes from the assembly stage, ensuring that the delivery is perfectly synchronized with the needs of clients. This is particularly crucial in the automotive sector, where manufacturing lines can be highly complex. Penstone, drawing on Japan’s long tradition, possesses the ability to supply high-quality products and build strong trust relationships with automotive manufacturers. This is reflected in its client list. Penstone not only supplies 100% of Mazda’s RVM and A/G products but also holds a share in the RVM market for Suzuki, Honda, Mitsubishi and Nissan.

The core strength of the company lies in its products. Penstone strives to produce components of the smallest possible size while meeting the needs of its customers. Mr. Nakamura says: ”We possess the technology to produce these components at the minimum size and we have the technology to make the products light-weight.”

CX-60 Door Mirror

For example, the RVM developed for the popular Mazda SUV, the CX-5, not only provides high-performance visibility under harsh conditions but is also a lightweight and cost-effective product owing to improved materials and streamlined production processes. This product, developed over a period of more than two years, reflects its quality through numerous adjustments in the production process, ultimately delivering maximum efficiency.

The dimensions of the mirrors used in RVM are regulated by laws and regulations, and clients develop minimal styling to ensure compliance and satisfaction with those requirements. Some RVMs contain power units driven by motors, and Penstone offers added value to clients by developing these units minimizing size as much as possible. The company considers how to align the concept of its products with client expectations from the early stages, ensuring that it meets the needs and desires of the clients.

With a history spanning over 100 years, Ishizaki Group transitioned to a holding company structure in 2022. Under its umbrella, there are Penstone, which deals with automotive components, and Ishizaki Honten, which is involved in handling building materials.

In all production processes of Ishizaki Group, the business is dedicated to aligning work styles with customers and focusing on enabling swift decision-making for the clients. Ishizaki Taijiro, the President and Representative Director of Ishizaki Holdings, states: “As Ishizaki Gr., we can promptly support business, thereby further enhancing our contribution to clients.”

CX-60 Windshield

Penstone has established factories in Asia, Mexico, and the United States, achieving expansion of its business. The company ensures that similar quality management systems are adopted in its overseas production facilities, guaranteeing the same level of quality as those used in Japan. Furthermore, the company is planning for further growth in the Asian market and is actively seeking local partners with regional market knowledge to support expansion efforts.

This partnership style can be observed in Penstone’s joint venture in India. The local partner assists Penstone in understanding the region’s talent structure and requirements. In return, Penstone provides technology and expertise for creating lightweight and compact products, thereby facilitating the development of the partner.

The overall mission of the Ishizaki Group is to realize the motto “UNIQUE x SPACE”, not only in the near future but also for the next 100 years. This entails the development of unique products and services that leave a lasting impression on clients and the creation of workspaces where employees can truly work comfortably. Mr. Ishizaki expresses his thoughts on this by stating: “I believe that we will continue to grow in realizing this philosophy in the next 10 years. That’s why we present such a vision.”

On the other hand, Mr. Nakamura’s goal for Penstone is to continue manufacturing high-performance mirrors that make both car manufacturers and drivers happy and safe. As the automotive industry undergoes the transformation to electric vehicles, Penstone is strategically positioned to manufacture traditional mirrors that remain essential for vehicle safety, alongside the development of future electric mirrors.