IACDS delegation visit to the world’s largest concrete cutting companyPublished 10/10 at 14:43
A feature of the IACDS annual convention in Japan this year, participants were presented with the opportunity to visit the offices of the world’s largest concrete sawing and drilling contractor, Dai-ichi Cutter Kogyo K.K.
With its head office located in Chigasaki in the Kanagawa prefecture, not far from Tokyo, the opportunity to visit the Dai-ichi Cutter Kogyo K.K. offices was taken up by around 20 IACDS delegates on 21 May, 2018. This provided the opportunity to visit the headquarters of the world’s largest concrete sawing and drilling company, enjoy the good weather, and gain an awe inspiring view of Mount Fuji.
The visit to the company started with a short presentation on Dai-ichi, with a welcome by company president, Mr. Takahashi. During the presentation it was explained that Dai-ichi, founded in 1967, turned over €86M during 2017, is now listed on the Tokyo stock exchange, and is expected to grow in 2018. As well as its head office, the company now has 10 branches located across Japan, plus four subsidiaries, with 360 people now employed, with an additional 250 sub-contractors also doing work on behalf of the company.
Although Dai-ichi Cutter today works mainly working in Japan, it does also undertake water jetting jobs occasionally overseas, which has seen the company undertake special projects in Kuwait and Singapore, with an increasing focus on undertaking projects overseas. To undertake its work, the company has assembled an impressive fleet of equipment. This consists of some 171 flat saws, 150 core drilling systems, 38 wall saws, 62 wire saws, 18 grooving machines, 14 water jet pumps as well as assorted stationary and mobile slurry recycling plants. Additionally a large number of diamond tools, as well as other miscellaneous machinery and equipment are owned by the company.
Wide spectrum of services
The main services that Dai-ichi provides is flat, wall and wire sawing, core drilling, grooving and also conventional construction work. It also undertakes water jetting and hydrodemolition services demolishing concrete, cutting steel and industrial cleaning, as well as under water services with water jets. Dai-ichi clients’ are a cross section of general construction and infrastructural companies, from a variety of business areas including process, cement, nuclear, airports, railway, bridges, dams and quays. A major area for Dai-ichi, due to the high frequency of earthquakes in Japan, is to reinforce buildings thereby making them more resistant to earthquake damage. About 35% of the work the company undertakes is concrete cutting, 35% grooving, 20% water jetting and hydrodemolition, and 10% general construction and other associated tasks.
Mr. Watanabe from Dai-ichi explained that flat sawing on roads and bridges is a very common service undertaken by the company, but for some years, Japan has strengthened its concrete slurry handling regulations. When carrying out flat sawing large volumes of water are used, with, previously, the water not being contained or handled properly. Now regulations have been tightened, with all resulting slurry having to be collected and recycled. In order to do this, Dai-ichi uses specially designed flat saws with a vacuum. The slurry is then contained and recycled in either mobile recycling units, or brought to the nearest Dai-ichi location for processing by a stationary slurry recycling unit.
The new regulations were introduced in 2012, and in 2014 Dai-ichi built a stationary recycling plant for slurry at a cost around €515,000. The stationary plant itself contains two large tanks where the slurry is collected, which is then transported to another tank where two different types of substances are added. The process then separates the solid or mud content in the slurry and is filtered. The mud is used as construction material and the clean water is reused in concrete cutting. Today Dai-ichi has three stationary recycling plants and 15 mobile slurry recycling units, with another stationary plant currently being constructed.
Aging work force
Dai-ichi , together with the Japanese concrete cutting industry as whole, now faces some serious challenges in the coming years. There are many vacancies for staff in the industry, but as the workforce ages and retires, there are very few trained younger people to replace them. “We have a big need for competent staff, and it is very hard to find it in Japan these days. We need to educate young people for work in the concrete cutting industry,” says Mr Watanabe. Thus Japan is facing the same problems as many other nations, with it being hard to attract young people to the industry. To deal with this human resource problem, Dai-ichi has increased cooperation with other concrete cutting companies as a temporary solution, with another possible option being to bring in workers from other nearby countries and train them in Japan.
The group from IACDS had an interesting and enlightening day at Dai-ichi Cutter. The delegates would like to express its thanks for the hospitality received, and to Mr. Takahashi and his team for taking time out from their busy days to host the visit, and explain the unique challenges facing the company.