APPENDIX D. QUESTIONNAIRE FOR JAPANESE COMPANIES
The JTEC team prepared written questions to be asked of the Japanese
hosts during its site visits. The questions ranged from the general to
- Do you have a company brochure? If you do, please provide it to us.
If not, please give us a brief presentation on your company: history,
size, facilities, products, sales, future growth and other pertinent
- Do you have a brochure or presentation material on composite
products and activities at your company? If you do, please provide it
to us, and also give us a brief oral presentation on them.
- Please provide us with a list of your company's composite
manufacturing related facilities and equipment. Does your company own
any unique facility or equipment? Who provided or designated this
unique facility or equipment?
- How do you rate your company's composites facilities and equipment
relative to other Japanese companies? American companies?
- What would the cost of prepregs be for the widespread application
to industry? Do you think the material suppliers can meet the desired
- We believe JTEC has already sent you a list of manufacturing
technologies (hand layup, filament winding, pultrusion, etc.) and
related items (curing methods, tooling concepts, quality assurance,
CAD/CAM, etc.). Which of those does your company use? And which of
those does your company not use and why?
- Is there any other manufacturing technology and related items which
your company is using or had used but was not specified on the list
provided by JTEC? If yes, please tell us. Was it successful? Was it a
- Please tell us more in detail on those manufacturing technologies
and related items which your company uses frequently. Why does your
company use them frequently -- for cost, good quality, customer
request, or what?
- If your company is asked by a major customer to bring your
company's favorite or most successful manufacturing technologies and
related items, what would your company bring?
- If your company is asked to bring only "one" manufacturing
technology, which one does your company bring? And why? Do you think
the selected manufacturing technology is the best in Japan? If not, who
has the best in Japan? Do you think it is better than the one in the
- The composite industry expanded at an impressive rate of more than
17% per year, but recently it really slowed down (flat to negative
expansion). Is there any future for the composite industry? What do you
think are the cause(s) of the slowdown? Has your company (and also
other companies in Japan) been affected by the slowdown?
- How much of the slowdown is affected by the general economic
slowdown? How much is affected by the "high cost" of composites
components relative to metal components? How much is affected by the
lack of or inefficient manufacturing technology?
- The general economic slowdown aside, the major cause of the
slowdown in the composite industry is said to be the "high cost of
composites." What are the steps your company is taking to lower the
cost? Please be specific.
- Nowadays we are hearing often that the reduction in cost of
composites will come from improved or innovative manufacturing
technologies. Which manufacturing technologies do you think will lead
to a breakthrough in cost reduction? And why?
- Which manufacturing technologies and related items will be the
focus of your company's attention and future R&D investments? And
- To reduce the cost of composite components in the future, the
following manufacturing technologies are currently under study in the
United States: stitched RTM; tow placement; 3-D (textile) weaving;
pultrusion; forming/stamping/molding/rolling for thermoplastics. Is
your company working on any one of these technologies? Which? And how
- What are the prospects for these technologies? What are the major
problems associated with the current manufacturing technologies?
- Is there any other promising manufacturing technology under study
at your company? If so, please tell us about it.
- For improving manufacturing cost, where does your company put
priority? On equipment? On facility? On personnel? or on other
- What manufacturing technology breakthrough is required for a major
cost reduction which will lead to a widespread use of composites?
Besides manufacturing technology, what other things are necessary for a
widespread use of composites as we have with metals (steel and
aluminum)? What are the hurdles? What should be done to remove the
- In which manufacturing technologies does Japan excel relative to
other countries? Which manufacturing technologies do you think the U.S.
excels in relative to other countries? What do you think about European
- Would your company think about cooperative R&D efforts with
American companies? What manufacturing technologies do you think an
American company should or can learn from the Japanese companies? and
- Our questions so far were mainly concentrated on manufacturing
technologies; but to reduce overall cost of composite components for
aerospace usage, other areas are also critical. Please tell us what you
are doing in other areas. For example, engineering, quality assurance,
procurement, certification, training, morale, and other areas.
- Where do you expect the composite technology and business to be in
1995, 2000, 2010? What is your company's plan to cope with coming
changes and progress?
- Are you cooperating with other Japanese companies in composites?
Through engineering associations? Which ones?
- Do you think cooperation between Japan and U.S. will help
accelerate the widespread use of composites? Would you be interested in
continuing communication on manufacturing technology? Is there a focus
for this communication in Japan? Where?
- In your company's opinion, what is the single most important thing
for success? Is it manufacturing technology? capital? people? company
tradition? experience? technology? facility? location? Or what is
- To your company, what is the definition of an excellent company?
How about a successful company?
- Can you add anything more to our questions or to your answers?
Published: April 1994; WTEC