Obara Kogyo : Manufacturing Prostheses and Braces for Over 70 Years
Forging—a processing method used in manufacturing Japanese swords—eliminates gaps inside the metal and refines the metal crystals, increasing the overall strength by aligning the crystal orientation. Although this is considered a problematic processing method, the manufactured muscle metal has increased durability even when secondary processing is added. Recently, however, the demand for iron prosthetic gear orthotics has decreased, with the forging of light alloy prosthetic braces becoming mainstream, so few companies continue to manufacture steel iron screws. As a company that incorporates drop forging, where hitting on the heated metal gives it its shape, Obara Kogyo believes that they are unique in the realm of the orthopedic device market.
The team at Obara builds on their impeccable reputation for trustworthiness and reliability—a legacy carried forward for the last 70 years. The company’s skilled craftsmen are proficient in producing prostheses and orthoses from numerous materials and honing it to perfection. Obara Kogyo’s state-of-the-art factory flaunts 30 different machines for producing materials and machine tools. Their commitment to a customer’s unique needs is reflected in them continuing to offer carefully handcrafted and customized wooden, steel, aluminum, and iron prostheses. “We always think of the safety of the people who use our products over a long period, which has led us to adopt the forging process for making prostheses and orthoses,” adds Nanako Akiyama, CEO at Obara Kogyo.
The company also makes wooden orthoses, products that combine wood and metal, which are inexpensive but have excellent durability. However, orthoses made of wood is difficult to adjust than the metal counterpart, but the company’s skilled craftsmen with years of experience and intuition genuinely excel at it. In tandem, Akiyama’s optimistic personality and willingness to go the extra mile and take challenges head-on have been instrumental in adopting new technologies. “We can confidently stride into uncharted territories as I believe in the skills and knowledge of my employees to overcome any challenge and integrate innovative technologies,” she says.
The prosthetics industry should be a user-centric manufacturer as most people use a prosthesis for a long time
While the company places customers first and leaves no stone unturned to cater to their unique requirements, they put the needs and voices of employees first and value their opinions on an equal footing. This has fostered a culture wherein employees freely express their views and draw on the cumulative strengths and support to forge success. Veteran employees, who have amassed a wealth of expertise, adorn the roles of advisors and mentors for the juniors and new hires.
In an age where 3D printing has taken center stage in the orthopedic devices sector, Obara Kogyo strives to balance traditional manufacturing methods with innovative technologies. The disruptive potential of 3D printing has ushered in the possibility of producing prostheses and orthoses tailored to the needs of users. The company contemplates introducing 3D printers and new material processing to augment the prosthesis made of iron, wood, or light metal. This will enable the on-demand production of prostheses according to customer requirements, which would be cost-effective and in line with their user-first policy. “We believe that it will be possible for us to develop new and even better products by combining 3D printers with our metal processing technology,” remarks Akiyama.
In the future, Obara Kogyo’s facility will be rebuilt with a community space so that users can easily visit and pick their customized orthotics. The company also envisions hiring people with disabilities, including their customers, and creating new jobs for them. The benchmark on customer-first philosophy has truly gone a notch higher. “The prosthetics industry should be a user-centric manufacturer as most people use a prosthesis for a long time,” concludes Akiyama.
Description Obara Kogyo manufactures prostheses and orthoses made from different materials. Obara Kogyo team, firmly rooted in their corporate philosophy of ‘meeting needs and providing greater comfort,’ goes the extra mile to customize prostheses and orthoses as per customer requirements. Obara Kogyo’s state-of-the-art factory boasts of 30 different machines for producing materials and machine tools. Their commitment to a customer’s unique needs is reflected in them continuing to offer carefully handcrafted and customized wooden, steel, aluminum, and iron prostheses. Obara Kogyo is determined to restore mobility and better quality of life
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