Site: Shonan Design Company, Ltd.
3-11-10 Hashimotodai, Sagamihara-shi
Kanagawa 229, Japan

Date Visited: 14 December 1995

JTEC/WTEC Attendees: K. Narayanan (report author), P. Fussell


Yasuhiko Mark Matsuoka
Shonan Design Taro

Takakuni Ueno

Seichi Fuchigami


Jason W. Soo

Sawa Negishi


President Matsuoka defined the vision of the company that he took over from his father 15 years ago: one common 3D data that drives the design as well as tooling and manufacturing. The barrier to progress he sees is the "section" thinking prevalent in large companies, where designers accept 3D CAD but tooling engineers use 2D drawings. He sees the need for companies to concurrently manufacture dies while the prototype is made with the same 3D data. The company slogan is "Aggressive Advantage."

Shonan Design has 77 employees with an average age of only 32 years.


Shonan Design is fully equipped to handle all types of software in both 2D and 3D:

The JTEC/WTEC team was given a tour of Shonan's design labs, which are lined up with PCs and workstations to handle all types of design needs for about 200 clients. The breakdown of Shonan's clients by software is approximately 20% Pro/E, 30% CATIA, 50% 2D CADAM. Only about 5% have 3D CAD/CAM common data. Demos were given of undercut CAD prediction, CAM tool path generation, and CATIA to SOLIFORM without STL.



Of Shonan's customers, 99% are Japanese; 90% of them are electronics companies that make video cameras, TVs, notebook computers, and portable telephones. The team saw several prototypes: calculator, portable telephone, TV frame, motor cycle engine, printer case, and credit card scanner.


Shonan Design has 3 Soliform-Teijin Seiki machines to make resin-based prototypes. The machines are located in a special room. The machines have 500 mm x 500 mm x 500 mm capacity and use AOM lenses for laser scanning. Accuracy is 0.3 mm. For leveling between layers, a brush is used with low-viscosity resin, and capillary parallel plates for high-viscosity filled resin are used instead of double dip.


All 3 machines use resins:

  1. TSL 800 Resin is used for the shape verification model; examples the team saw were a notebook and a motorcycle engine.

  2. 2100 Resin is used for vacuum die casting to make prototype samples; examples the team saw were a TV frame and printer case. Up to 20 parts can be made from one silicone die.

  3. TSL 752 Resin is used for CAM-less injection molds to be used for trial runs with the customer resins; examples the team saw were tube light connectors and portable phones.

TSL 752 is the latest product, introduced in about 1993 and commercialized in about 1994. This is a 50% glass (30 micron) filled acrylate resin with a resultant viscosity of 40,000 cps. HDT is 100°C. To prevent segregation problems the resin must be mixed. No bubble problems have been encountered in parts. Because of the low thermal conductivity of this mold compared to the standard metal mold, the cooling cycle in the injection molding is on the order of 1-2 minutes compared to seconds. While there is research to build in conductive fillers to take away heat, there is no interest in direct metal molds at this point. TSL 752 injection molds can make as many as 400 parts, whereas a typical customer needs maybe 50 parts (to get UL certification, for example). Part size can be 8 in. x 11 in. x 2 mm. There are 2 Okada injection mold machines that are used to test these molds. Some of the samples the team saw coming out of the injection mold had somewhat of a rough finish, not the glossy final product finish customers are accustomed to when using the conventional metal molds.


Shonan Design recognizes that training CAM professionals has its difficulties. This is where CAM-less molds have an advantage, but they have not caught on yet. Shonan Design has 7 Fanuc NC machines to accommodate customer needs.


Shonan's limiting process steps are 3D data, followed by post processing.

Shonan Design is exceptionally well equipped and is one of the most forward-looking companies. We thank Matsuoka-san and his team for hosting us so graciously.

Published: September 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian