How Obento racks are made.
Have you ever wondered how the bicycles and parts we use every day are made?
Today, let’s take a peek into Nitto’s factory in Fukushima and see a part of the Obento rack manufacturing process.
CrMo tubes with a diameter of 9 mm are placed on a jig and bent one by one to a predetermined angle for the Obento rack tops. A lever is applied, but it is manually operated. Often when we think of industrial products, we conjure images in our mind of large towering machines churning out processed parts, however this tends to be the case with large-scale mass production. In reality- Obento, like all of Nitto’s racks, are truly handmade by craftsmen. The frame of the square top platform is first crafted by bending the tubing four separate times.
Of note is the welding point located in the center. Because poor alignment in this area will not result in a clean result, it is carefully corrected and the misalignment is removed as shown in the video. The result of all of that methodical attention to detail is shown below. Now they are ready to be joined.
Racks are joined in this case using a technique called brazing. The high temperature from the acetylene torch causes the melted filler material- in this case brass, to seep into the parts and sturdily attach them to each other. The woman brazing, who appears in the video I shot (now 10 years ago!) is still alive and well. Tom Ritchey, who instructed her how to braze directly to the parts, resoundingly endorsed her as “a natural, and very good at it!”
Once joined, the parts are polished, chrome-plated or nickel-plated with black electrodeposition material. All assembly and packaging is done by hand.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Nitto’s founding. We have enjoyed showing you some scenes from the Fukushima Plant. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. This kind of methodical and reliable manufacturing supports the lives of talented craftspeople, as well as our business and our daily rides. I would like to express my utmost regard and respect for the tradition of craftsmanship that lives on in our country, here in Japan. I find myself beaming with pride each time I ride my bicycle.
While there is still a lot of turmoil in the world and such effects are still being felt in our supply chains, SimWorks is fortunate to have been able to build our inventory through Nitto’s hard work.
Please do not miss this opportunity.