Tome Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
Tome Murata Manufacturing (TOM) used to be Hasama Murata Manufacturing, which produced two winding type coils used in CRTs: deflection yokes and flyback transformers. TOM was founded in 1988 as a plant dedicated to the production of flyback transformers. With the transfer of this production to an overseas site, the company was restructured in 1998 as a plant for producing winding type chip inductors, before starting full-fledged production in January 2000. It has since continued to operate successfully.
Micro-coil winding technology is considered the most difficult part of chip inductor technology. The quality and cost of a chip inductor depend on the maturity of the micro-coil winding process employed.
Therefore, the best way to gain the upper hand over the competition is to differentiate the company through winding technology, because our rivals also face challenges in this area. The smallest product in the current TOM lineup is produced by winding a copper wire 20 μm in diameter (half as thick as a hair) around a core in a 0.5 x 0.4mm size. In order to achieve the specified inductance, the processing technology has to be able to reliably control the number of turns and winding pitch and securely join the coil with the electrodes. In addition to equipment (coil-winding machines) capable of controlling these parameters and the ability to maintain this equipment in optimal conditions, Murata’s winding technology involves many more elements. Those related to materials include the flexibility to optimize core materials and shapes as well as materials and thickness of the insulating coating of copper wiring; Skills required from operators include outstanding abilities to handle extremely fine lines and decide whether a product is to be accepted or rejected using microscopy.
Despite being a follower company, TOM has been able to improve its winding technology and win a high market share in a short period of time. This is not only because of the sales promotion that has been carried out by the product division and sales department. The outstanding winding technology that used to be employed for CRT components has been continually developed.
TOM’s untiring development of winding technology is a focus of attention among Murata Group affiliates. The number of plant tour visitors from them is now incomparably larger than it used to be when the plant started production. This is encouraging for TOM employees, because it represents an acknowledgement that the company has grown to be good enough to set an example for others.
Industry-leading cost-benefit, supply capacity, lead time, and quality permit the company to win a high market share, thereby establishing itself as the mother plant for the chip type inductors. At the same time, TOM now commits itself to providing technical support for overseas plant for which the company is responsible.
Responsible Contributions to the Local Community
TOM depends on the local community for a majority of its employees. For a provincial company like TOM, the local community in which it operates forms the very basis of its existence. Both are bonded in a symbiotic relationship. For the company, maintaining its business and continually creating jobs contributes to the community the most. During the past decade, however, the number of manufacturing businesses based in Tome City has been declining steadily, resulting in a 30% reduction in employment. Therefore, in this environment, TOM has a great responsibility as an employer. Employees who experienced the difficulty caused by the restructuring of the company’s plant that accompanied the overseas transfer of production now represent less than half of the company’s entire workforce. Nevertheless, they still maintain the persistent passion they had in those days to keep the company in business. This enthusiasm forms an element of the company’s culture, having a positive influence on less-experienced employees. For a few years now TOM has been conducting a range of activities both inside and outside the company in order to ensure that its employees reaffirm the significance of the relationship between their company and the local community. The aim is to have employees understand that a company like TOM needs to live together with the local community. They are expected to gain a new perspective for their work, in addition to their traditional concern about handing down the company to future generations. While replacing the members regularly, these activities will be continued until the commitment toward the local community is shared by all employees.
Creating Satoyama (Village Forest) Full of Mountain Cherry Blossoms
As part of its CSR activity for environmental and social contribution, TOM launched its version of Murata Forest conservation in June 2010. In developing this conservation project, TOM has concluded agreements with forestry cooperatives in Tome City. Signed with the mediation of the Miyagi Prefecture’s initiative for supporting collaborative regeneration of village forests, these agreements cover a total area 7.6 times as large as the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium. This is by far the largest of the area covered by any similar agreement signed by a company based in the prefecture. Since effectively starting in 2011, the project has planted as many as 2,800 young trees over the past three years. These include the 1,000 planted in collaboration with local people under the Tome City-led initiative on forestation. Afforestation takes several decades. The length of the process makes it impossible for a company to be involved permanently, which means that local people will need to take over in the future. In the case of the TOM project, the partner forestry cooperatives in the city help to ensure successful collaboration and co-creation with the local community. This is extremely encouraging to the company as it allows it to not be concerned over the future of the forest’s regeneration. TOM’s forest conservation project is driven by the company’s desire to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy nature’s bounty. Every TOM operation of tree planting or weeding is preceded by a forestry cooperative official’s speech on the appeal and future of satoyama development. Inspired by the speech, participants from TOM carry out their task while imagining that one day in the future, the entire forest will be covered with mountain cherry blossoms in their full glory. It gives them a pleasant feeling of fatigue and a sense of fulfillment rarely provided in everyday life. Designed as a social contribution, satoyama development is also a good way to refresh one’s body and spirit — an advantage shared by all participants.
The Beautiful Riverside City of Tome
Tome is a riverside city located in northern Miyagi Pref., on the border with Iwate Pref. Through the ages, this area has been well known for its rice. In the Edo period (1603-1868), rice produced in its paddy fields using its rich water resources was presented as a gift to the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Hasamacho-sanuma neighborhood, where TOM is located, has a long cultural tradition as a local center where people and materials come together. The ancient book Date Hikan (meaning “the secret records of the Date clan”) includes an account of Sanuma Castle, an icon of Hasamacho town, saying: “[The castle] is surrounded by a river with deep waters [...] it represents a strong fortress.” In the eastern part of the city, Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma is well known as a wintering spot for migratory birds. In winter, many waterfowl fly here from Siberia.
Shishigajo Park, located in Uchimachi, Hasamacho-sanuma, is crowded with many people enjoying cherry blossoms in spring. The park was created in a part of the former main enclosure and second bailey of the centuries-old Sanuma Castle. Sanuma Castle is considered to have been established some time between 1185 and 1190 by Terui Taro Takanao, a retainer of the Fujiwara clan in Hiraizumi. Tradition says that the castle was given the alias of Shishigajo (Deer Castle) because deer were buried here in the past as a form of protection. The collapse of the Fujiwara clan was followed by centuries of changes before this area came under the rule of Date Masamune, a major warlord during the Warring States period. In 1591, Tsuda Kageyasu, a major retainer of the Date family, entered Sanuma Castle. Tsuda’s rule lasted for 150 years over seven generations. After the Tsuda family was deprived of its privileges as punishment, Watari Noriatsu was transferred to the castle, where his clan remained until the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Situated in the eastern part of the city, Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma is famous throughout the country as a habitat for wildlife, especially waterfowl. It is one of Japan’s largest wintering grounds for migratory birds. In 1967 the birdlife and habitat of the lakes were designated as a Natural Monument. In 1985 the lake was the second Japanese site following the Kushiro Shitsugen marsh in Hokkaido to be registered under the Ramsar Convention for preservation of internationally important wetlands.
2013-14 Murata World Firsts Announced in News Releases