The Story of Sakichi Toyoda
Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries Corporation, possessed a strong ambition to contribute to society from his days as a youth. He had devoted his 63-year-long life to invention.
Die Business Administration Office, Die Engineering Division
He joined the company in 1982. After studying the fundamentals of manufacturing at the Technical Training School, he was assigned to the Press Die Section (now the Die Engineering Division) at the Kyowa Plant. He developed his skills in machining of dies, progressing through assistant team leader, team leader, and supervisor. In November 2014, he was recognized for his high technical skills and for his contribution to fostering young workers, being awarded the Aichi Prefecture Excellent Technician Award (Aichi Master Craftsman).
Since being assigned to mold manufacturing after the Technical Training School, I have worked in the machining of metal dies. Over the last 30 years, processing plants have changed significantly, with processing machines now following 3D designs to faithfully carry out processing of structures, curves, and lines. When I was first assigned to this, we used profile machining, in which a plaster or similar model was placed next to the processing machine. A tool called a stylus was passed over the model, and a cutting tool on the processing machine carved out the mold. As well as building the model, this also required craftsmanship including selection of the stylus to pass over the processing machine, pressurizing of the model, selection of cutting tools to match the item, and knowledge of cutting speed and direction—obviously people now can create high quality much more efficiently.
However, of concern is that it has become more difficult to learn the basics of manufacturing in the workplace. Safety requires that processing machinery be protected by covers, and this has resulted in fewer opportunities to see up close various phenomena. Understanding the theory behind various phenomena is possible through study, however this is not the same as actually seeing them for yourself. What kind of shavings are given off by cutting in a certain way? There are many types of skills that are best acquired by experiencing them for yourself. This is why I'm always telling young workers to take the national skills tests and enter the in-house skills competitions. This experience may not directly be all that useful to workers these days, however they are an important opportunity to learn for themselves the basics of manufacturing. This should not be overlooked.
Last year, I was awarded the Aichi Master Craftsman prize. I don't consider that I have done anything special so far. But I had the "vision" to acquire these high skill levels. I thought that one shortcut to achieving this was attempting to learn everything that respected seniors could do. So, I copied their techniques, refined my skills, and even acquired the special grade of the national skills test. I believe that what I have achieved is as a result of doing this. I'm sure you all have a superior that you respect. Role models are all around us. Have the desire to enhance your skills in manufacturing.