A story about product development.
As a manufacturer, having our own product lineup was Mitsuhashi Corporation’s dream for a long period of time.
Now you can see Mitsuhashi Corporation’s original products that have become major sellers. We underwent numerous setbacks and trials before we achieved our goal.
Here, we will tell a little known story of developing the automated dispensing equipment which gave us the opportunity to enter into the food industry.
The “seed” of original products
In the mid Showa 40s (around 1970) when Japan was in the middle of a high economic growth period, Mitsuhashi Corporation was striving to grow from being a subcontracting manufacturer. Observing the booming market our founder, Kaname Mitsuhashi, thought “this won’t last long.
We will be have to compete by Mitsuhashi’s original products” and established the Product Development Department. A salesman from the Development Department visited a food plant by chance, searching for the “seeds” to create Mitsuhashi’s original products.
The demands for Instant noodles was rapidly growing at that time. What our salesman saw the plant operators were manually placing the soup sachets on top of the noodles one by one on the production line. The plant manager said “This is really tough. Wouldn’t this become easier by using a machine? Aren’t you a machine manufacturer?” Our salesman felt a sense of mission to “improve this situation”.
Thrilling development days
The salesman brought the challenge back to the company and development began. We were used to developing equipment that deals with hard material, such as metal, but it was our first time dealing with soft material, like powdered soup.
The first idea was to dispense the soup sachets into the hopper and run them through as if pouring water into the funnel. However, the sachets did not flow as smoothly as expected and caused blockage.
The next idea was a method where sachets were sucked up using the vacuum system while the tubular drum was rotated. We succeeded in placing the soup sachets on the noodles, but sachets had to be placed into machine, which took more preparation time. The Development Department felt dejected due to repeated failures.
The moment of inspiration
However, our former President convinced the employees that “creating original brand is Mitsuhashi Corporation’s dream. Let us give freedom to the Development Department”. The Development Department devoted themselves to research and development for the “people who work at the factory”.
One day, inspiration came to the Development Department. The soup sachets were cut to individual form and supplied to the food manufacturer. They realized that the soup sachets were hard to handle because they were soft as they are individual sachets.
“Would they be easier to handle if they are uncutuncut(by chain form)?”
That was the moment when a ray of light began to shine on the Development Department.
Instantly, the Development Department contacted the powdered soup sachets packing plant and succeeded in obtaining the chain form soup sachets. Then they tried a method that cut the sachets one by one and dropped the sachets through chute, then, soup sachets were neatly placed on each noodle. Here is how our original product that we could present to the market with confidence came to life.
Meeting the clients’ expectations
is at our forefront
Now, our original brand has gone overseas along with increasing global demands for instant noodles. Our machines are used from North America, Europe, China, Taiwan and Thailand to African countries, including Kenya and Nigeria. Our packaging business has been accepted by food plants across the world and has grown 22 times more over thirty years of the Heisei era.
Mitsuhashi Corporation believes “products” can become “products” for the first time when they are demanded by clients. The automated dispenser, which was developed to help the employees who work at food plants, was born only because there was a demand from a client.
We wish to meet the expectations of the clients right in front of us, no matter how small or niche of the industry it is—we strive to meet the demands of clients from across the world with such passion.