Metal One Steel Center Shikoku was founded in 1984 as Shikoku NI Corporation, a fully owned subsidiary of Nissho Iwai Shikoku Corp. (now Metal One Shikoku Corporation). Typical Japanese shipbuilders and construction equipment manufacturers are clustered by the Inland Sea, and the company has engaged in shearing and press operations for shipbuilding, construction machinery, and bridge construction as a processing base of steel plates in the Shikoku area.
Metal One Steel Center Shikoku has actively moved into high-value-added processing operations over the past several years, for example, shipbuilding. Approximately ¥500 million was invested to build a new plant in October 2006, and the company moved into block assemblies for shipbuilding. Block assembly refers to the cutting and welding of steel plates used in building ships in blocks of components, which is an important upstream process for shipbuilders.
In addition, the company handles press operations for the making of boom components for crane manufacturers in the construction machinery sector and has devised a just-in-time delivery system that corresponds to manufacturers' production shifts. Booms are the most important component of cranes, and the company undertakes press and bending operations with a 3,000-tonne large hydraulic press and offers its capacity to fabricate parts that manufacturers require by handling hole punching and parts welding.
Company president Yoshihiro Wakabayashi, who is also the president of Metal One Shikoku, described the company's undivided attention to its two mainstays-shipbuilding and construction machinery-saying, "Conditions that allow for full production at shipbuilders in the Inland Sea area have continued, increasing the need for our company's processing. This is why we are thinking about expanding our facilities' capacity even further. Moreover, demand from China and elsewhere for construction equipment is flourishing, and in response, we finished adding lines in November of last year."
With a strong relationship with Metal One Shikoku historically, such links as exchanges of information are vigorous even now. However, Wakabayashi is aiming for integrated operational strategies, saying, "When I want to send a message from Shikoku, I call upon the employees of both companies. As Metal One's Shikoku block, we hope to receive support from the steel plate department, which is the department with oversight responsibilities, while increasing profits."