December 28, 2011,09:06 +0900(JST) My Thoughts on 80th Anniversary of IGETALLOY Launch
I joined Sumitomo Electric in 1967 and was assigned to the Hardmetal Div. That division had the longest history among the Company’s non-electrical wire departments; its annual sales were around ¥500 million in those days.
Sumitomo Electric’s hard metal business dates back to when copper wire drawing dies were created in-house. In 1923, cemented carbide was invented in Germany, the main ingredient being tungsten carbide. Sumitomo Electric commenced research and development, and in 1929 succeeded in the production of cemented carbide dies for in-house use, which were released to the market in 1931, named “IGETALLOY Hard Alloy.” Incidentally, the trade name “IGETALLOY” (alloy from Sumitomo whose emblem features a diamond-shaped igeta mark) has been in use since 1959.
Sumitomo Electric is celebrating the 80th anniversary of IGETALLOY this year, thanks to support from our customers and the efforts of our forerunners. I am deeply grateful to them. To commemorate the 80th anniversary, Sumitomo Electric held a lecture meeting on manufacturing, featuring a special speech by Tetsuya Hamaguchi, Project Professor at the University of Tokyo and renowned for his knowledge of failure; unfortunately, I could not attend the meeting due to some business.
Sumitomo Electric has developed novel products and technologies, such as IGETALLOY, sintered parts, compound semiconductors and optical fibers, on the basis of the Company’s copper wire production technology. These products were able to evolve into product groups sustaining our business growth, only thanks to the Company’s sound manufacturing base. To bear its importance always in mind, in 1997 the Hardmetal Division held its first lecture meeting on manufacturing, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Company’s founding. This year marked the fifth such lecture meeting.
In the meanwhile, I am most concerned with research and development as a source of business growth, and attended a research presentation meeting held in the Itami area. There were many participants from within the Company. I directly asked various questions of development personnel regarding progress. Specifically, my expectation was high for magnesium alloys, Aluminum-Celmet, green semiconductor laser and nano-polycrystalline diamond. I was deeply impressed by everyone’s great efforts, and gave them words of encouragement.