In 2023, Trelleborg celebrates the 36th years of cooperation with our business partner Ito Yogyo! We commemorated this beautiful and loyal relationship by visiting Ito Yogyo’s office and factory in Japan this summer. It was our first factory visit since the pandemic and allowed us to look back on our history of cooperation and discuss opportunities for future development.
Ito Yogyo is a manufacturer and seller of semi-dry cast concrete products, such as pipes, manholes, and road gutters. These products are used in the sewage infrastructure in Japan. Like many companies in Japan, it started as a family business operating out of a small workshop, founded by Mr. Goji Ito in Akashi City, Japan in 1950. After three generations of hard work, Ito Yogyo has developed into an international corporation with many branches across Japan. It has been listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) since 1999.
Trelleborg's connection with Ito Yogyo can be traced back to 1987, when Mr. Goji Ito, the founder of Ito Yogyo, along with his colleagues, visited our manufacturing facility in Milford, New Hampshire. At that time, the facility was operated by NPC company, acquired by Trelleborg in 2011. The purpose of the visit was to explore the potential introduction of the Kor-N-Seal® flexible pipe-to-manholes connectors and Hydrokor In-Plant Coring Machines into the Japanese market.
The high quality of products and state of art manufacturing process soon helped win the business with Ito Yogyo. Later, Kor-N-Seal® products were awarded Japan Institute of Wastewater Engineering Technology (JIWET) approval, which represented the highest standard for sewage products in Japan’s domestic market. This approval affirmed the top-notch quality of Kor-N-Seal® products, which had undergone years of rigorous testing and verification processes. In 1989, Ito started to distribute the Kor-N-Seal® products after entering an agreement with the NPC company.
After Trelleborg acquired NPC in 2011, the company continued to maintain and nurture the relationship with Ito Yogyo. Visits and investigative activities were exchanged between the two parties to ensure sustainable cooperation and development. On our visit this time, we met with Mr. Shigeo Takaoka, the Executive Director and R&D manager at Ito Yogyo. He recalled that, 30 years ago, when they were struggling to find a way to compete with other manholes manufacturers in Japan, they imported the Kor-N-Seal® products and quickly attained a dominant market share in Japan. He credited this success to the high quality and market-leading aspects of our products, as well as the continual customer and technical support from our side, He looks forward to another 30 years of loyal partnership, sustainable business practices, and innovative product launches.
On our way to Ito’s factory, Mr. Junichi Nakamura, Sales Manager at Ito Yogyo, pointed to a row of manholes in the distance and told us they were being installed with Trelleborg’s Kor-N-Seal® connectors. What a surprise!
Thank you, Ito Yogyo, for your continual support over the past three decades! Here’s hoping for another 30 years to come!