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The Yamazaki Mazak Corporation is celebrating the massive impact machine tools have on everyday life with the opening of the Yamazaki Mazak Museum of Machine Tools in Minokamo, Japan.

The Yamazaki Mazak Corporation is celebrating the far-reaching impact machine tools have on everyday life with the opening of the Yamazaki Mazak Museum of Machine Tools in Minokamo, Japan.

Opened to the public at the end of 2019 to mark the company’s 100th anniversary, the museum showcases the intrinsic link between Mazak’s history and the evolution of the technology.

Opened to the public at the end of 2019 to mark the company’s 100th anniversary, the museum showcases the intrinsic link between Mazak’s history and the evolution of the technology, taking visitors on a journey from its 18th century origins to the highly advanced and innovative machine tools of today.

Taking visitors from the tools of the 18th century right through to the modern age of connectivity and automation, visitors can also see an automatic production line that uses innovative IoT technology to manufacture machine parts for use in production processes. It is a reminder of how far the technology has progressed, and aims to serve as further inspiration for the next generation of engineers and industrial decision-makers.

Its exhibits also highlight the status of machine tools as ‘mother machines’ that produce the parts required to keep vital equipment operational in highly important industries, including the aerospace, medical and automotive sectors.

The museum’s exhibits highlight the status of machine tools as ‘mother machines’ that produce the parts required to keep vital equipment operational in highly important industries, including the aerospace, medical and automotive sectors.

These educational exhibits include several traditional machine tools in working condition and products they play a vital part in producing, including cars, aircraft and a steam train. These machines and items have been painstakingly restored in co-operation with manufacturers from all over the world, offering insight into both the heritage of a wide array of industries. The exhibits also show the integral contribution machine tools have made to continued innovation and technological advancement within these sectors. Furthermore, the museum features an educational corner where children can enjoy hands-on learning and discover more about the technology.

The museum itself was constructed with sustainability in mind. It is located 11m underground in a renovated Mazak laser cutting machine assembly facility and utilises geothermal energy to regulate internal temperature. As a result, the electrical consumption required to heat and cool the museum is much less than that of an equivalent-sized above-ground facility.

The exhibits include several traditional machine tools in working condition and products, painstakingly restored in co-operation with manufacturers worldwide.

“Machine tools provide absolutely vital support to manufacturing worldwide, meaning they are also vital to the workings of everyday life,” said Richard Smith, European Group Managing Director at Yamazaki Mazak Europe. “The Yamazaki Mazak Museum of Machine Tools is a fitting tribute to the massive contribution of these ‘mother machines’ to technological advancement and their impact on society as a whole.

“As these machines are mainly used for industrial production in factories, the general public may not be aware of their existence and widespread use. Through this unique museum, opened to celebrate our 100th anniversary, we hope to demonstrate the importance of machine tools to the next generation and how Mazak has been integral to the continued development of the technology behind them.”

Yamazaki Mazak Ltd

Yamazaki Mazak is the world’s largest manufacturer of computer controlled (CNC) metal-cutting machines. With over 260 different models, the Mazak product range includes CNC lathes, machining centres, multi-tasking machines and flexible manufacturing systems as well as laser processing machines.

Machine tools are called “Mother Machine” because they relate to the manufacturing of almost every product around us and are very important in supporting the base of “world manufacturing.” Our mission as a machine tool maker is to enrich people’s lives and contribute to society by developing and providing high performance machine tools that can produce high accuracy work in a short time.

We were among the first to start foreign production as a Japanese machine tool maker. Following the establishment of Mazak Corporation in the USA, we expanded our production base worldwide to include the UK, Singapore and China, as well as further expanding our Japanese manufacturing operations. We are the only machine tool maker to have established a global production system. With these local plants, we have been able to provide high quality service and have built strong relationships based on mutual trust with customers from all over the world.

True to the Yamazaki principle of supporting the customer locally, Mazak’s European Manufacturing plant, in Worcester UK, opened in June 1987 and was immediately recognised as the most advanced machine tool manufacturing plant in Europe. The factory has expanded three times since then and now offers over 29,000m2

This is a complete machine tool manufacturing plant. Mazak machines the components that go to make its spindles, turrets, tool magazines and Mazak even manufactures its own sheet metal covers. As with all Mazak manufacturing plants, the most rigorous practices and Kaizen programmes ensure continuous improvement.

Serving all of Europe’s markets, more than 80% of the machine tools built in Worcester are exported from the UK into Europe. More than 17,000 Mazak machines have been manufactured here so far and this number continues to grow every day.

Mazak European Manufacturing Plant is recognised for its factory automation, technology and overall management practices. Selected as one of the “Top Ten Companies in the World” by the Swedish Royal Academy of Science and Technology underscores this worldwide reputation.

As with all Mazak factories, this facility comprises a variety of flexible manufacturing systems, consisting of machining centres, multi-tasking CNC lathes, and a sheet metal FMS – all designed for unmanned operation.

The plant benefits from highly skilled employees who are committed to continuous improvement through the 25 “Kaizen” teams in operation.

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