RIKEN CORPORATION

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Progress of Riken Corporation

An Invention is Our Origin

In 1926, Dr. Keikichi Ebihara of the Ookochi Research Laboratory of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research invented a new manufacturing method of piston ring that ensured uniform pressure on the inner wall of the cylinders.
This invention was epoch-making and realized the most superior manufacturing method of piston ring at the time. With this as a turning point, the domestic production of piston ring started for the first time and was expanded on a mass production basis.
In 1927, Rikagaku Kogyo was established to commercialize the manufacturing of piston ring by obtaining the license of the patented invention.
In 1934, the Piston Ring Division of Rikagaku Kogyo was spun off and became an independent company named "Riken Piston Ring Co.,", the predecessor of Riken Corporation.

"Dr. Masatoshi Ookochi's Management Philosophy"
Management is to be based on systematically theorized industrial engineering. Capital is to be utilized for pursuing new technology.
  • Dr. Masatoshi Ookouchi
    Dr. Masatoshi Ookouchi
  • Dr. Keikichi Ebihara
    Dr. Keikichi Ebihara
  • Piston ring manufacturing in Kashiwazaki Plant
    Piston ring manufacturing in Kashiwazaki Plant

Development and Confusion through the Wartime

1937-

In 1937, the Sino-Japanese War broke out and Japanese economy shifted to the war regime.
Mass production of trucks and airplanes are developed for the military purpose and the demand for piston ring for those engines rapidly increased.
Riken introduced a lot of production equipment and machinery for the expected production expansion.
In 1941, the Pacific War broke out. As the demand for piston ring for airplane dramatically increased due to the expansion of the state of war, Riken hired the most of the people living in Kashiwazaki city at its peak in order to cope with the increased production.
In 1945, just before the end of the war, Riken Kumagaya plant was seriously damaged by the night air attacks and was destroyed more than 60% of it.

Recovery after the War

1950-

Pipe fitting manufacturing in the Kumagaya plant (1963)
Pipe fitting manufacturing in
the Kumagaya plant (1963)

As Riken Kashiwazaki plant was fortunately not damaged in the war, Riken was able to resume its production of piston ring for automobile, agricultural tools and equipment and others in two months after the war end.
As we cultivated our technology in the manufacturing of piston ring for airplane, Riken's piston ring became more sophisticated than before and the ring for automobile was certified as excellent component.
On the other hand, we had a hard time to resume the production in the damaged Kumagaya plant. However, the Kumagaya plant started the production of pipe fitting and other new products by collecting and utilizing the damaged equipment and machinery and the large volume of pig iron in our stock, which were fortunately not damaged in the war.
Various products, being our core products even today, were developed during this period.
In 1949, through the postwar corporate reorganization, we restarted as "Riken Kashiwazaki Piston Ring Insudstries Co." (Foundation of Riken).
In the mood of postwar recovery, demand for automobile parts as well as automobile itself was rapidly increased due to the special procurement demand brought by the Korean War.
Riken continued to enhance its piston ring production not only in capacity but also in capability in order to respond to demand for every possible type of piston ring with size range from small to large. Riken also continued to implement thorough quality management.
With higher reputation from customers for our piston ring, Riken grew to the leading piston ring supplier who has transactions with almost all of the Japanese leading companies in the industry fields of automobile, marine, motors and so on.
In 1950, the corporation was renamed as Riken Piston Ring Industries Co. In 1952, Riken was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In 1953, Riken Piston Ring Industries Co. and Kumagaya Cast Iron Co. which was a predecessor of the current Kumagaya plant merged.

Globalization and Overseas Operations

1968-

In the period of rapid economic growth of Japan, the competitions were globally intensified because of the liberalizations of trade and capital.
Riken was required to respond to the movement of globalization, turning our eyes on the global markets.
In 1968, Riken established the midterm management plan for its sustainable growth. After that, under the slogan of "Challenge to becoming a global company", Riken enthusiastically promoted its capital investment, development of new products and sales expansion to the overseas markets.
While the exports of piston ring and other engine parts considerably increased, we set up the manufacturing companies in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia and the selling companies in the United States and Germany aiming for further expansion of our business in the overseas markets. We also collaborated with overseas companies through technical licenses.

  • The award for a contribution to the expansion of export
    The award for a contribution to the
    expansion of export
  • The inauguration of Indonesia Riken on September 1975
    The inauguration of Indonesia
    Riken on September 1975

Promotion of the Lean Management

1970-

In the 1970s, as Japanese economy shifted to a phase of low growth, Riken pursued the lean management and promoted the optimization of production.
Riken was able to make profit stably thanks to the increased sales of new products and the results of the intensive sales activity, even in the oil crisis.
1979 was the 30th years anniversary of Riken since its foundation. Until that time, we had considerably expanded our business and had started to manufacture a variety of superior products other than piston ring. Therefore, taking this opportunity, this corporation was renamed as Riken Corporation and took a new step towards further growth.

From the Greetings of the President Higashigaitou at the Ceremony of the 30th Anniversary
"First, we must devote ourselves to the development of technology.
Secondly, we must become a globally No.1 piston ring manufacturer. "
"Today, we celebrate 30th anniversary of Riken. We will be steadily moving forward for our bright future with the honorable new name, hand in hand, no looking back."

Transition of the Company Emblem
Transition of the Company Emblem

Memorial Movie "Ring of Miracles (Digest)" in 1972

Riken produced this movie in 1972.
The movie introduces Riken's piston ring and its manufacturing process.
You can see the Kashiwazaki plant and the employees working there at the time.

Reestablishment of Production Infrastructure

1980-

After 1980, Riken continued to expand its business both in domestic and overseas markets and focused on the research and development of new products and new technology of our core business even today, namely piston ring, casting products, precision products, pipe fitting, EMC and thermal engineering products.
We also intensively implemented the rationalization of production line and the reestablishment of production infrastructure.
As a result of such efforts, Riken was certified ISO 9001 for piston ring business in 1997 and for casting business and precision component business in 2000 respectively.
Also, in the late 1970s, Riken developed and launched the mass production of steel piston ring for gasoline engine application.
In 1983, Riken constructed a new plant in Tsurugi, Kashiwazaki, specialized for the production of steel piston ring. Today, the "Tsurugi plant" is the largest steel piston ring plant throughout the world.

The production line of steel piston ring in the Tsurugi plant
The production line of steel
piston ring in the Tsurugi plant

Towards the Further Growth

2007-

With the ceaseless efforts of all of the employees, Riken established the firm position of an excellent functional component supplier who has world class competitiveness in each business field.
However, in 2007, we experienced a terrible earthquake, "the Niigata Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake," which greatly damaged our production facilities of Kashiwazaki plant in Niigata.
Thanks to warm-hearted supports extended by everyone from the carmakers and part suppliers, 7,900 people as a total, and neighboring residents, we were able to restore the damaged facilities and resume the supply to the customers only in two weeks.
Riken fully recognized the importance of fulfilling our corporate social responsibilities from this experience which were reported as "Riken shock" in the papers. Since then, we have been intensifying the activities for further improvement of safety, quality and BCP (Business Continuity Plan) with the understanding that these factors are the base of our business.
Riken Group all will fulfill the corporate social responsibilities while continuing to challenge and strive for further growth.

  • Many encouraging letters from neighboring residents
    Many encouraging letters from
    neighboring residents
  • Quick restoration in two weeks thanks to warm-hearted supports
    Quick restoration in two weeks
    thanks to warm-hearted supports