This year, YKK began manufacturing and selling a new type of VS hook for diapers. This product uses a technology called sleeve manufacturing, which is different from existing technology, and is a product that was fully developed six years ago.
When we started development, we made various prototypes with prototype molds and tested them dozens of times. We were not able to achieve satisfactory strength, and the development team felt that we could never achieve it with our technology.
One day, when we were repeating the strength test as usual, we found some test results that showed strong strength. At first, we assumed it was due to variations in measurement data or errors and didn’t pay much attention, but similar strong results continued to appear in some places, so we decided to carefully observe the prototype again.
We discovered that the cause of the high strength was a burr of about 10 μm on the tip of the tiny hook part. When this occurs, the strength increases. The size of the burr was so tiny that we could barely see the difference even under the microscope. We changed the design so that the shape corresponding to this burr was intentionally molded, and thus we were able to realize the current VS product that has stable hook strength.
This is an example of what we were able to discover when the development staff made small changes, paid attention to the details, and patiently continued testing many times. It was something we noticed because we performed the test accurately each and every time.
Thinking back on it, if we had not noticed this subtle change at that time, the product might not have been completed yet. I realized again the importance of continuing to focus on quality and doing work accurately every day.
Also, regarding the subsequent steps to market launch, I realized that by collaborating with sales, marketing, and manufacturing and respecting each other’s position, and also making sure not to overlook small issues and thoroughly considering whether there was an inadequate response from the customer’s point of view, it would be a product that satisfies customers and leads to sales.
I am grateful that all the staff members involved in the realization of these results were so meticulous in their day-to-day efforts.
I would like to continue to develop valuable new products based on our commitment to the details, together with you.
Vice President, R&D
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.