Date Visited: 14 December 1995
JTEC/WTEC Attendees: A. Lightman (report author), P. Fussell, R. D. Shelton, L. Weiss
Kyoden is a ¥6 billion per year electronics and printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer. It recently purchased the U.S. PCB layout software company PADS Software. It operates an RP service bureau based on a CMET SOUP 600GA machine. The RP provides models for product development in which the PCBs can be inserted and dimensions verified. The company has three workstations with Pro-Engineer for design applications. Currently, most customers (70%) bring in 2D drawings, which Kyoden converts to 3D (60% in solids and 40% in surfaced models). Two years ago, 100% of the files Kyoden received were 2D; company executives anticipate that within five years more than 50% will be 3D, and that 100% of big companies' files will be 3D.
Kyoden started RP activity in 1992 using a 3D Systems SLA500. The operating expenses were too high for their customer base, and they switched to the CMET machine in December 1993. They have 3 technical staff, and their machine runs 40-50% of the available time. The main factor impacting model cost is the sunk cost (depreciation). The SLA500 initially cost ¥80 million, and the SOUP machine cost ¥40 million (although the advertised price was ¥50 million). Also, the service and resin costs for the CMET machine are 50% of the SLA.
Kyoden now uses the standard CMET process. Parts are annealed at 50°C for 2 hours following the part cleanup to help relax induced stresses.
Kyoden's principal customers are Toshiba, Sony, and Matsushita (Panasonic) in the electronics industry. (While Sony is involved in the D-MEC venture and manufactures the Solid Creation System, or SCS, there are many divisions within Sony that shop separately for RP service, going to the most favorable supplier.) Kyoden also services automobile and heavy industries and a few medical companies. Kyoden's principal RP competitors are INCS, D-MEC, and Shonan Design. Company managers view their real competitor as the traditional model makers whose price and accuracy are both better, and they view their RP competitive advantage as use of 3D CAD data. The company may be faster starting from 3D data, but traditional modelers will be faster starting from 2D data. Kyoden's customer priorities are ranked (1) price, (2) accuracy, and (3) delivery time. Competition from traditional modelers restricts the price that Kyoden can charge for models. Kyoden is looking at the KIRA machine because it is good for making casting master models and its running costs are lower.
Kyoden uses Asahi Denka 673 (epoxy). The company experiences some distortion problems with this material.
In addition to building engineering models, Kyoden uses RP to create master models for silicone rubber molds, into which it then casts engineering plastics, as per its needs.
Kyoden executives mentioned that the Japanese Rapid Prototyping Industries Association (JARI) has several subcommittees addressing RP issues. They wanted to organize a service bureau subcommittee, but they were dissuaded by MITI. They listed the JARI annual membership costs as ¥100,000 for RP vendors, ¥60,000 for companies, and ¥40,000 for academics. JARI currently has 69 members.