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Cutting company aiming to add value in the aircraft and space industry
--Urano Co., Ltd. President Kobayashi

Urano Co., Ltd., which has factories in Saitama and Nagasaki prefectures, owns a total of about 100 machining centers and operates 24 hours a day, 359 days. We specialize in processing complex shapes such as aerospace equipment, nuclear power related equipment, and liquid crystal semiconductor related equipment, mainly for 5-axis machining. In aircraft, we specialize in difficult-to-cut materials (Inconel, titanium) for airframes and engines, and Urano's processed parts are also used in national projects such as the International Space Station and the H2 rocket.


Exterior of Nagasaki Factory

─ Your company is engaged in the processing of parts in the cutting-edge field of aircraft. First of all, please tell us about the background of your founding.

It all started in April 1950 when my grandfather started the Urano Iron Works in Uemachi, Honjo City, Saitama Prefecture. My grandfather, who was adopted by the Kobayashi family after marrying his grandmother, made an investment in the ironworks when he founded the ironworks. It seems that he raised it.

─ Under such circumstances, the epoch-making event for your company was the introduction of the "5-axis machining center" ahead of other companies in the same industry.

When we set up the Saitama No. 3 Factory in 1988, we purchased four large-sized machines of 150 million yen each and one medium-sized one of 100 million yen at that time for the first time. In addition to the three-axis movements of "up and down," "left and right," and "front and back," the two-axis movements of "rotation" and "tilt" of the table on which the metal member to be cut are placed are added, making parts with complicated shapes in units of 1/100 mm. It is a numerically controlled machine tool that enables cutting with high accuracy. For my father, who was the president at that time, I think it was a big decision. It quickly gained a reputation as a cutting company with state-of-the-art machine tools, and was interviewed by an industry magazine. Then, after reading the article, a domestic aircraft manufacturer asked me, "Would you like to process the airframe parts?", Which triggered me to enter the field of aircraft. Under the guidance of the manufacturer, such as programming required for cutting, Boeing's B757 machine parts processing began in 1990.


We are good at cutting complicated shapes


Designing / manufacturing jigs and tools from drawings and 3D models

─ With the increase in parts processing for Boeing, the Nagasaki Plant was launched in 2006. Was it a place with something to do with it?

It's not that, and it's not because the customer was nearby. Nagasaki Prefecture, which was suffering from the outflow of young workers from the prefecture, was actively engaged in activities to attract companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area. As part of this, the Nagasaki Prefectural Promotion Foundation has visited my father many times for presentations. Knowing that the area is rich in nature and scenic, my father, who went to visit the site, liked the environment at first glance and decided to build a new factory.
Of course, there are also major reasons for managing the company. From that time on, it was already difficult to secure talented young people in Saitama Prefecture, and it was necessary to build a new factory in a place where it was easy to recruit. The aim was brilliantly correct, and the wage system was the same as that of the Saitama head office factory, so excellent young human resources gathered immediately. Currently, about 220 of the approximately 460 employees are employees of the Nagasaki Factory, but at one point the average age was 26 years old, and even now it is a site centered on young people who are full of morale and keep around 30 years old. I am.

─ It seems that the Nagasaki Factory has been mainly processing aircraft parts from the beginning.

A major feature of the 787, which was the successor to the 767 and was under development at the time, was that it had the same cruising range as a large jet, while achieving lower fuel consumption than other aircraft. Therefore, carbon, which is a light and strong composite material, is used for the airframe. However, carbon has the disadvantage that it is incompatible with aluminum, which is usually used as a structural material, in terms of lightning resistance. Therefore, titanium, which has high hardness and is compatible with carbon, has come to be actively used.
And the ratio of titanium adopted as a metal member has doubled to 14% for the 787, compared to 7% for the 777. In response, he thought, "Titanium is a difficult-to-cut material that is harder to cut than aluminum, but it will be a big business in the future." I decided that. Of course, I also had technical confidence. While processing parts for blades of power generation turbines, we are already working on cutting stainless steel, which is a difficult-to-cut material that other companies in the same industry avoid. We can deliver it quickly. " In addition, we were able to submit a quotation that was significantly cheaper than other companies, which led to winning the number one order in Japan for processing large titanium parts for the 787 in 2012.


Scenery inside the factory

Technology PR

─ Under such circumstances, parts processing in the space field has also begun.

Yes, in 1995 I was tasked with processing the outer wall (ceramic) of the small experimental machine "HYFLEX" to develop the space plane "HOPE", and in 1997 I was also involved in the processing of parts for the space station "Kibo". .. Furthermore, since 1999, we have entered the manufacturing of parts for the "HII rocket".

─ Please tell us about the future outlook for the aircraft field.

In the aircraft industry, we will focus on the engine system, which requires higher precision and quality and is less likely to be involved in cost reduction competition. The first time I was involved in the engine was the Rolls-Royce engine for the Airbus A350 aircraft in 2008. And now we are aiming at the Pratt & Whitney "PW1100G" engine.
Until now, the blades of fans that send air to jet engines have been forged by casting. However, the blades of PW1100G have a special shape and cannot reach the required level for forged products, so there is an opportunity for cutting that enables more precise machining. It took about three years from trial production to mass production, but now the Nagasaki Plant uses 12 machining centers to process 8,000 blades a month. For the PW 1100 G, we will strive to add even higher value by automating and incorporating related fields. One robot will be installed for every six machining centers, and all the transportation from attachment / detachment of metal parts to shape inspection and non-destructive inspection in the post-process will be entrusted to prevent human labor. We also replaced the shape inspection equipment with the latest one made in Germany, reducing the inspection time to one-fifth of the conventional one. In addition, we are proceeding with a one-year plan to incorporate the cutting process of a part called a "ring" to which the completed blades are attached. Ultimately, I would like to incorporate the assembly to bond the blades to the ring. By undertaking from upstream to downstream in this way, we will add value, while our customers will shorten lead times and build win-win relationships. We also plan to actively participate in international business meetings and develop direct transactions with overseas aircraft manufacturers.

─ Finally, please tell us about your company's future vision.

As I have said, we are still a company that continues to brush up Urano's technology, which can win even if it competes with the world. The basis for this is an initiative to "deliver better products to customers cheaper and faster than other companies." To that end, it will become increasingly important for all employees to return to the spirit of "independence and coexistence" that the company motto preaches, and to move forward step by step. We intend to accelerate the expansion of the two existing aircraft and semiconductor-related businesses and the addition of added value.

November 1963
〒369-0306 Kamisato-cho, Kodama-gun, Saitama Prefecture
57-27 Hattanda, Higashisonogi-cho, Higashisonogi-gun, Nagasaki 859-3922
1631-2 Higashikaminomiya Town, Isesaki City, Gunma Prefecture 372-0815
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