Made in Japan
Interview with Naomasa Kurasawa, Hioki.
What is Hioki’s main offering to the utilities sector?
We offer a wide range of products from handheld DMMs and clamp meters to energy loggers and power quality analysers to meet maintenance and troubleshooting applications.
What sort of physical presence do you have in the Middle East and how long have you operated in this market?
Hioki has been represented by local distributors in the Middle East for more than 40 years. In the UAE, Naser Al Sayer has been a consistent partner in servicing large and small businesses across the country, and was instrumental in helping us firmly establish the HIOKI brand in the maintenance market.
In Iran, Syteltronics has assisted us greatly in promoting our products to industrial customers as well as academia. Due to the rapidly developing region, Hioki is always looking to partner with new distributing agents to expand our presence, and within the past few years, have signed up with a number of local companies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other up-and-coming markets to further promote our company and product lines.
What kind of growth has the company been seeing in the region?
We are seeing a 15% growth year-on-year, due mainly to a more aggressive marketing strategy that is conducted in collaboration with our distributing partners.
In which countries are you most active at the moment?
Currently, we are the most active in the UAE, especially with our handheld products. We are proud to say that it is difficult to find a retail shop in Dubai or Abu Dhabi that does not carry a HIOKI product, and the HIOKI name is a household name among electricians.
What is your most recent major contract win in the region?
We won a $50,000 contract to supply Memory Recorders to a large electricity authority in March 2015.
Tell us about your latest product innovation and why buyers need it?
Our latest product innovation is the PW3365 Clamp On Power Logger, the world’s first non-metallic contact energy logger that exposes absolutely no metal fittings on voltage or current sensors but still have the ability to measure voltage, current, and power from outside a cable, without the need to establish contact with a metal surface. This means that incorrect connections or sudden disconnection will not cause sparks nor lead to electrical hazards for the technical or nearby equipment.
The PW3356 is born out of Hioki’s continued pursuit to deliver test and measuring instruments that are the safest in the market. Technicians have been able to measure current using clamp-on current sensors instead of clipping directly onto live or metal contacts for some time, but measuring voltage has required attaching metal clips directly to live parts such as the metal terminals of circuit breakers or busbars, posing the risk of short-circuit accidents in which a clip comes into contact with an adjacent terminal or electric shock due to unintended contact.
To address these hazards, Hioki designed the new Safety Voltage Sensor PW9020 to measure voltage from outside the cable, eliminating the need to establish contact with metal. Used in combination with a clamp-on power meter, this sensor makes it possible to measure power safely.
What sets Hioki apart from its competitors?
Without a doubt, our biggest point of differentiation is that 99% of our products are Designed and Made in Japan. Customers in the Middle East are especially appreciative of this stamp of quality, and Hioki does not hold back when it comes to extensive testing and re-evaluations to ensure that its products are of the highest quality worthy of the Made in Japan mark. Hioki reinvests a minimum of 10% of its annual sales back into research and development in order to pour maximum effort into nurturing the product development power of its approximately 250 engineers.
Our engineers collaborate with the other functions of the company such as manufacturing and quality assurance to manufacture roughly 1200 products and ship over 800,000 units per year. It is widely recognized that Japanese-made products characterized by superb quality have a failure rate of only 100 to 3000 ppm. Grounded on a rigorous quality control system, Hioki leads the industry by delivering a failure rate of roughly 50ppm, representing world-class quality that is a source of pride for the company.