The 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon opened on January 15. At the booth of Kyoto Tool Co., Ltd (KTC), an exhibition of new models and limited edition lacquered handles, in commemoration of the company’s 20th anniversary, attracted the public eye.
Let’s first look at the Nepros Black Series that was released to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary. Although the lineup includes a 9.5sq ratchet tool, a combination wrench, and screwdrivers, the coating of those is produced through ion plating. Hence, it gives an impression of brilliance through the unique black metal which seems transparent. The ion plating is durable, not easily scratched, and does not even fade compared to the coating. Since the Nepros series has a reputation for its durability and practicality, Brand Promotion Group Manager Shigeki Shiseki stated, “For existing Nepros users, I would like you to use it as an upgrade.”
Three more small types were added to the NBR290 series of the 6.3sq ratchet handle. There aren’t many Japanese engineers who use 6.3sq, but there is high demand for it in Western countries. The three types that were added were Short (NBR290S), Flex (NBR290F), and Flex Short (NBR290FS). The small ratchet tool plays an effective role when working on narrow parts, which a worker’s hand cannot reach. Even if the Japanese seem to be good in handling 9.5sq because they have skillful hands, the need for small tools might increase in the future considering EV diversification, such as the widespread use of ultra-small mobility and drones.
Lastly, the Nepros Black Series is the 20th anniversary model of the Nepros lacquered ratchet handle. KTC manufactures lacquered products, such as ratchet handles and screwdrivers. This time, they have added designs that feature Kyoto’s four seasons. The design patterns include “Arashiyama” (spring), “Shimizu” (summer), “Fushimi Inari” (autumn), and “Gion Yasaka” (winter), and each coating is unique from the others.
Although the product itself has no problem as a utility, it is expectedly viewed more as a souvenir or a gift rather than a practical tool. It will also be used as a promotion for its brand. When asked for the reason why this product will be released, Shiseki laughingly said, “It’s because we are a manufacturer in Kyoto. Also, since it hasn’t been done by others, we did it ourselves. I would be happy if it get that kind of reaction.”
Furthermore, for the company mascot this year, an anime-like little female character named “Katie” was introduced. As a company, this has been their first attempt; nevertheless, as what Shiseki said: “We will do it.”
(Translated by Kimberlee Estampa)