Mr. Hase, could you please briefly describe Tokai’s activity ?
Tokai Optical was founded by the late Mr.Shizu Furuzawa in 1939 and it is exciting to think that the 70th anniversary of the founding of the company will come in just 3 years. Tokai Optical is a family owned company, being now managed by the president, Mr.Takeo Furuzawa, the son of the founder.
Tokai Optical sells glass lenses in more than 40 countries of the world and the turnover in 2005 reached ca.Yen10,000 mio.
Tokai Optical is a specialty enterprise, dedicated to a coherent manufacturing of lens materials, optical design, production and sales of single vision, aspherical and progressive lenses in the full lineup from mineral glass to the highest index 1.76 organic lens.
Tokai Optical, outside Japan, supplies the high quality glass lenses for the clients of all over the world including the EC from Tokai Optecs, Belgium.
Could you please explain the latest needs and trends of the Japanese ophthalmic market ?
Of the Japanese market approx.95% is organic lens with nearly 100% AR coated. The requirement for high index materials is high and the market always demands up-to-date materials and techniques. The quality requirement is also at an extremely high level. The Japanese seem to be to most particular about the cosmetics and colors in all the world.
How and when did Tokai decide to start automation ?
We entered in the investigation and subsequent introduction of A&R machines in our factory more than 10 years ago. In the development of a coherent manufacturing of glass lenses in a large variety automation provided a high added value while reducing production costs. In line with manpower rationalization the task ahead of Tokai Optical was to constantly maintain and provide extraordinary high quality. It seems the automatic control machines would be indispensable and essential in order for Tokai Optical to achieve it.
What are the advantages of automating the final inspection ?
The control by people and machine at the final inspection each have individual advantages . We prefer to make good use of each of the advantages rather than make a comparison between the two approaches and focus on providing our clients with the highest quality lens by the utilization of the up-to-date technique. Since the A&R machines were launched, it enabled us to keep each inspection record and to control the same criterion at any time. The inspection records are regularly analyzed and put to practical use for the quality elevation by the feedback to production in the factory. A&R provided support to keep up with the improvements for the machine, as well as the development of software specific for Tokai Optical, one of their first customers in Japan. We were impressed by A&R policy, its designs, developments and customized and reliable solutions.
Did you notice an improvement in optics and quality ? How did A&R help you to do it ?
We are sure that Tokai Optical succeeded with the introduction of A&R machines in our factory, and fount that they are easy to handle and constantly in stable operation. We intend to grow as a top professional glass lens manufacturer, supplying product all over the world, taking advantage of further new automation provided by A&R, so that the clients are continuously pleased and satisfied with our glass lenses. We want to go on meeting these challenges together with A&R.
Interview by Laurent Loeckx (Sales Asia) and Mr. Ishikawa (Sales Agent in Japan)
Thanks to Mr. Hase, Mr. Hiraiwa, Mr. Yoshizawa, Mr. Iinuma, Mr. Ishii, Mr. Yamaguchi from Tokai.