History of Kato Tech and Kawabata Evaluation System (KES)

The Beginning of Kato Iron Works — From Materials Store to the Manufacturing Industry

Kato Iron Works was established in 1945 to sell leftover material from the war.
Due to a lack of various supplies, the production and sales of pots, kettles, and similar products thrived in this era. Kato Iron Works began as a materials store and quickly became well known.

One day, a customer requested the creation of a casting machine. Operating under the motto of “If you are going to make something, at least make it a little better”, we set out to improve the process and succeeded in creating an automated casting machine which we then made available to markets around the world.

Kato Tech Influence Spreads

In 1964, we helped create the medals used at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
We even received replica silver and bronze medals as souvenirs!

Making Friends with Dr. Sueo Kawabata from Kyoto University's Faculty of Engineering

Around that time, we had our very own “Master Filer” considered Kyoto's best metal filer.
Focusing on the textures of textiles, Kyoto University's Dr. Kawabata needed a “bending spacer” for evaluating physical properties, a task that would require the skills of a true craftsman. Undertaking the request, we set out to create the spacers so aptly imagined by Dr. Kawabata. With the finished spacers in hand, Dr. Kawabata was able to accomplish his goal of performing accurate bending measurements.

The Turning Point: Looking to Create Something Capable of Evaluating Physical Properties

Following our encounter with Dr. Kawabata, we decided to embark on a new manufacturing adventure.
Entrusting Kato Tech's future to a knowledge-intensive industry, we decided to quickly switch gears from production of large products to production of smaller value-added items.

Birth of the KES System

In the 1970s, the need for objective evaluation technology geared toward texture was steadily increasing. With the goal of standardizing texture evaluation for cloth and analyzing texture judgment practices used by experts in Japanese factories, the Hand Evaluation and Standardization Committee (HESC) was launched within the Textile Machinery Society of Japan. In those years, Dr. Kawabata and Dr. Masako Niwa of the Faculty of Home Economics at Nara Women's University were the core members of the committee, which also included expert engineers from leading Japanese textile companies and university researchers.
The committee evaluated some 500 kinds of fabrics over three years, defining the basic and general textures of the cloth, leading to the development of an objective method for evaluating the texture of cloth. Through this research, it was realized that texture judgment is based on initial mechanical properties at small load levels. KES (Kawabata Evaluation System), a texture-measuring device, was devised for measuring the mechanical properties of cloth. Although not a part of JIS or ISO standards, the measurement conditions created by Dr. Kawabata and Dr. Niwa are recognized by skilled technicians, university researchers, and other researchers throughout the world.

Between Then and Now: The Inherited Ideas of the Founder

Throughout our long history, we have always strived to “make things better.” This idea has been a driving force behind our manufacturing and sales of various equipment.
With roots in the textile industry, our products are now being used in various industries such as for automobiles and cosmetics. By utilizing our years of experience and advanced technologies, we will continue to support the development of products that offer comfort throughout a wide range of industries.

Reference : Sueo Kawabata, The Hand Evaluation and Standardization Committee, "The Standardization and Analysis of Hand Evaluation (2nd Edition)",1980.

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