Open House 2018

We had an annual open house event last week.
170 customers visited this year.

For those who missed it, I’d like to introduce our latest developments here.

We had 2 main themes this year.

One is “Soliution”.

It’s not a typo. “Soli” means warp in Japanese.

“Soliution” is our solution to warp, the long-held issue that the corrugating industry has been facing.

And it’s a combination of our latest model singlefacer “CF60” and a machine called “the WaterDeck” that makes the “Soliution” possible.

The WaterDeck is originally manufactured by Kohler Coating, Inc. headquartered in Ohio, U.S.

We became a partner with them almost 10 years ago, and have been exclusively selling their machines in Japan.

In the show, we demonstrated how easy fixing warp would be with CF60 & the WaterDeck.

When the speed of the corrugator goes up and down in a very short period of time, basically it’s the worst situation for warp.

(In the picture above, it went from 200mpm down to 70mpm and back up to 200mpm.)

But, with the right parameters control by CF60 and water content adjustment by the WaterDeck, things will not be the same.

This is the “Soliution” ISOWA offers.

We got many positive comments from the guests,

“Normally, water is the paper’s worst enemy. But with the WaterDeck, it’s the opposite.”

“The concept is very simple and logical. The WaterDeck is the most practical and reliable warp correction method I’ve ever seen.”

“I love how operator-friendly CF60 is. Its quick automatic cartridge change is excellent.”

“Bonding on heavy weight board is great.”

The other theme is “Evolved Edge-Opener”.

Edge-opener is ISOWA’s patented device to dramatically improve so-called “Fishtail” in the converting process.

Since its launch 2 years ago, it has taken the standard of the joint gap accuracy to a whole new level.

But, until recently, it was only available at the speed of up to 160pcs/min.

In response to growing demand for higher-speed capability, we redesigned it to be able to run at 200pcs/min.
That’s the box we ran for demonstration.

If you have worked in the industry, it’s obvious what a tough box this is to run.
To make things worse, it’s a heavy weight doublewall!


When we asked a few customers at what speed they thought it could be run,

Most of them answered, “70pcs/min. 100 at most.”

That’s exactly how hard it is.

But with the Ibis, that’s a thing of the past. We showed them what the Ibis is capable of.

This folding accuracy at the speed of 200pcs/min!

Let me share with you some of the comments.

“Even freshmen could make fine boxes with this machine.”

“I just hope you don’t sell this to our competitions. The quality is too good to compete against.”

It was another successful open house.
ISOWA will try to keep bringing more surprises to you all.

For more information, please contact us anytime!


ISOWA’s Historical Heritage

The machine being installed inside ISOWA’s main shop.

It’s one of our greatest machines of all time from ‘60s.

When one of the customers of ours decided to replace it a few years ago, I personally asked them to let us buy it back so we can exhibit it as ISOWA’s important heritage.

Several years later, the shop renewal has been completed, and we finally found the right place for it.

Preparation is well underway, and it will make its debut at the end of this month as one of the features of an open house event.

You wonder what kind of machine it is?

Come visit us anytime to find out!


Comrades in Corporate Reform

As our labor union reshuffled its organization last month, the officials have changed and rejuvenated.

Mr. A and Mr. H have been serving as union representatives for 14 years.

Mr. A says, “The most remarkable moment was when I got the full approval from you for the bonus we had requested almost 15 years ago. It was the first time in ISOWA’s history that had happened.”

“Before, no one would want to take this position. It feels like a dream that some people even raise their hands voluntarily now”, recalls Mr. H.

We’ve been through a lot together.

Together we found a way for the company and employees to be honest with each other and to unite as one team, which doesn’t happen in most companies.

When I was in charge of HR more than 15 years ago, I would have to beg on my knees to get the union to approve my proposals.

Over the years, things have changed dramatically as ISOWA’s corporate culture grew.

But, I wouldn’t have come this far without these two comrades.

Their efforts and achievements will certainly be passed down to the next generation.

People change, but the foundation that they have built will never be replaced.

Thank you so much for 14 years of dedication!


How innovation happens

When I was walking around the shop the other day, I found a few people doing something by the machine.

They sit together at a small table talking about something.

As it turned out, they were discussing how to improve the new feature of our flagship machine “Ibis”.

Later that day, I also ran into a pair of other engineers discussing another idea.

Although I’m not an engineer and don’t even know how to read drawings, I like to join this kind of discussion.

So I did, and ended up showering them with a lot of ideas, most of which, of course, are impractical…

Those ideas from someone who’s not even an engineer might be completely worthless to real engineers.

But it still might help them think outside the box and make a breakthrough.

That’s how everyone is involved in developments here at ISOWA.
And that’s how real innovation happens!


A scene from pre-shipment inspection

A scene from pre-shipment inspection

Ahead of one of the busiest installation seasons of the year, many customers come visit us for pre-shipment inspection.

Let me tell you a story with one of these customers.

This customer is a box plant 150 miles west of ISOWA’s headquarter.
Although they haven’t used our machine before, they’ve decided to purchase our latest machine “Ibis”.

“ISOWA’s machines are getting really popular. Although we’ve never done business with ISOWA, the reputation had gotten to the point where it couldn’t be ignored”, QC manager says.

As usual, the customer asked us to test-run some of the most difficult orders they’re having trouble with to see the machine’s real capability.

Boxes like this,

I’m sure that everyone who works in the industry will easily understand how much of a pain in the neck it can be.

According to the customer, they always have a quality issue with this one even at the speed of 50-70pcs per min.

They were so surprised that with “Ibis”, they can run this order at 220pcs per min!
Not to mention that the quality is perfect!

Installation at this customer is now underway.
I hope the “Ibis” will bring more good surprises to them!


Important part of ISOWA

As in our corporate credo, employee satisfaction matters most to us.
Because we do believe employee satisfaction will lead to customer satisfaction eventually.

But, there’s another important party we do care about.

It’s our suppliers.

We hold a big meeting every year where many of our suppliers get together to get to know each other better and promote partnership.

This year, we decided to give a thank you letter and a little gift money to 8 suppliers that have made the most contribution in the last fiscal year.

On two conditions, though;

1.    Use the money to take their employees in charge of ISOWA to lunch/dinner.
2.    Send us a picture as a proof.

I know it sounds a little too much, but the reason we gave these conditions is that this is all about us showing appreciation to everyone who actually works hard for ISOWA every day, and we needed to make sure that the money would be spent for them.

After the meeting, we got some really heart-warming pictures.

It was the least we could do to show how grateful we are to them.
ISOWA wouldn’t be able to deliver good machines/service to our customers without these partners.

ISOWA may be just a company with 300 employees but, in the process, a lot more Japanese craftsmen’s passion and skills are put into our products.

I posted this blog because I wanted to let you know about a little bit of “Behind the scenes”.


New ISOWA-bito

This April, 15 newly-graduated students joined ISOWA.
*“Bito” in the title means “person” in Japanese. Employees are called “ISOWA-bito” at ISOWA.

Let me show you some pictures from the welcome ceremony.

Cherry blossoms welcomed them in full bloom, too!

After the ceremony, I got a two-hour talk session with them.

We discussed out credo ”Aim for the best corporate culture where we can work for our own happiness and for the happiness of our beloved family.”  and what we can do about it.

At first they were being a little insecure and shy ,but, thanks to everyone’s involvement, the discussion got really energetic in the end.

I hope they found their own answer to the question, “What can a freshman do to make ISOWA a company with the best corporate culture in the world”

There might not be so much that you are able to do right now, but I want you to always try to make a difference for yourself, even if it’s a tiny one. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you.

That’s my message for them.

Good luck to each and every one of you!


Family Open House 2018

We had Family Open House 2018.

The main feature this time is a full-scale corrugated steam locomotive.

Since the theme is “locomotive”, guests need a ticket to pass the ticket gate at the entrance.

Just like real ones.

Through the gate, the locomotive shows itself.

Open House starts with a departing ceremony.

Behind the factory, we got 15 food trucks which had a very wide range of menu, from pizza to Japanese rice balls.

Nearly 600 people came in total.

The reason it looks less than that in the picture above is everyone was so preoccupied with the food that they wouldn’t join the picture.

But it’s still a great photo with not only ISOWA people but also their families!

We had a lot of other fun contents, too.

Machine demo running

Full scale military tank that actually runs.

Paper craft for the kids.

Clown show

Buckwheat noodle making

This time we also invited the alumni.
It was great seeing a lot of faces I hadn’t seen in a while.

ISOWA might not be existing now without any of them.


As you might know, our motto is “Work for happiness of your family and yourself”.

I’m working for happiness of myself, my family, employees and their families.

Employees’ families is one of the biggest reasons that I work.
Seeing them in person is always a huge motivation boost for me.

Lastly, I would like to say thank you to the project staff who made this event successful and amazing.

See you all at the next Open House!


Corrugated Steam Locomotive

Corrugated Steam Locomotive which I wrote about before finally arrived!
I would like to show you what the assembling was like.

Putting the front face on the base.
It weighs much more than you might be thinking.

Besides, it needs to be set in the exact position .

After jointing disk-shaped parts with beams over and over again..

The silhouette becomes clearer.

Then we put up the driver’s compartment.
While they are working on the main structure, others are doing delicate hand works.

What are they making?

They’re “corrugated bolts”.

We had kids help us equip those bolts and finish up the details.

In addition to bolts,


Everything is made from corrugated sheets.

It even has an ISOWA name plate.

After two days of work, it unveiled its full picture.
From another angle,

Pictures cannot express enough its overwhelming presence.

We are having more than 500 people over for a family event this weekend.

I’m sure it’s going to be a great event with the locomotive.