KEM was established with capital stock of 2 million yen in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, with the aim of becoming a manufacturer and vendor of medical equipment and instruments for physics and chemistry, as well as a technical consultant.
Stage 1: Birth of KEM
（1961 to 1969）
Establishment of KEM
Kyoto Electronics Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (KEM) set out with two main pillars of business: the manufacture and sale of scientific instruments, medical instruments, and medical substance generators; and the export and sale of scintillation counters and pH meters produced by HORIBA, Ltd. Business conditions at the time were very severe, so following the appointment of Nagahiko Kishimoto as Representative Director and President, proactive steps were taken to increase the number of engineers and develop prototypes of the company’s own products, with the aim of becoming an analytical instrument manufacturer focusing on Karl Fischer moisture titrators.
Released Karl-Fischer moisture measuring instruments.
Received approval from the Japanese Minister of Health and Welfare, and released calcium ionized water generator for medical equipment.
Nagahiko Kishimoto was appointed Representative Director and President, and capital stock was increased to 6 million yen.
Released thermal conductivity measuring instruments and DO meters.
Received subsidiary aid from the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry for research on the commercialization of thermal conductivity measuring instruments by hot wire method.
Started as an analytical instrument manufacturer.
Because of the “Securities Depression” in the year after the Tokyo Olympics (1964), domestic sales became stagnant for the first time since KEM was founded, and subcontract production also came to an end. Accordingly, in an effort to promote in-house rationalization, the Main Plant was moved to Fushimi-ku, and the scale of the plant was reduced. However, this turning point created an opportunity for dramatic advancement, spurring on the development and sale of the KEM’s own products, and promoting the development and manufacture of specialized equipment with a number of companies.
Developed potentiometric titrators and automatic measuring instruments for fluorine compounds in air.
A potentiometric titrator (AT-05) developed in 1967 controlled the titration volume of reagents in accordance with the potential difference, thereby shortening titration times and preventing excess titration. As a result, it sold well immediately after its release.
In 1968, an automatic measuring instrument for fluorine compounds in air (HF-02) was released. This was developed on the basis of talks with an aluminum refining company. At that time, agricultural crop damage was a big issue, and hydrogen fluoride released from aluminum plants was the main cause of strife with farmers in various regions. With the successful development of this product, business deals with aluminum companies followed in quick succession. Over time, pollution problems became a significant societal focus, and pollution meters became a mainstay of KEM.
Transferred the Main Plant to Fushimi-ku.
Released thermal conductivity measuring systems and IR desiccation moisture measuring instruments.
Capital stock increased to 10 million yen.
Released portable turbidimeters.
Released potentiometric titrators, specific conductivity meters, and Karl Fischer moisture titrators for processes.
Received subsidiary aid from the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry for research on the commercialization of Karl Fischer moisture titrators for processes.
Capital stock increased to 15 million yen.
Released automatic measuring instruments for fluorine compounds in air and trace moisture meters for processes.
Transferred the Main Plant to Minami-ku, Kyoto.
Released continuous transmissometers for processes and tabletop vacuum electric furnaces.
Stage 2 Establishing Infrastructure as an Analytical Instrument Manufacturer
(1970 to 1986)
Developed a succession of pollution meters.
Around the time when the Main Plant was transferred to Kisshoin, pollution problems were becoming a major societal concern, particularly four major pollution-related diseases in Japan including Minamata disease and Yokkaichi asthma. In this context, KEM developed and released a succession of pollution meters, starting with the development of automatic measuring instruments for fluorine compounds in air. Pollution meters contributed significantly to improving business performance. In an effort to further expand activities, at the Main Plant, additions and expansions were undertaken on a yearly basis.
Released automatic measuring instruments for chlorine in air, automatic sulfur compound measuring instruments, concentration meters for sulfur gas in air, and concentration meters for chlorine in phosgene.
Received subsidiary aid from the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry for research on precision automatic measuring instruments for fluorine compound air pollution.
Capital stock increased to 20 million yen.
Released automatic oxidant measuring instruments, automatic measuring instruments for nitrogen oxide in air, and concentration meters for hydrogen sulfide in air.
Completed the Stage 2 addition to the Main Plant.
Released concentration meters for ozone in air, sulfurous acid gas concentration meters, concentration meters for ammonia in air, and portable water quality meters.
Received subsidiary aid from the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry for research related to portable dust measuring instruments.
Received subsidiary aid from the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry for research on simple flue gas pollution measuring systems.
Completed the Stage 3 addition to the Main Plant.
Released concentration meters for nitrogen oxide in flue gas.
KEM was registered as a measuring instruments manufacturing business based on the Japanese Measurement Act.
Released chlorine gas alarm indicators, residual chlorine analyzers, and process nitrogen dioxide analyzers.
Made rapid progress regarding concentration meters for hydrogen chloride in flue gas.
In 1974, KEM was the first company in Japan to develop a concentration meter for hydrogen chloride in flue gas (HL-26), for continuous measurements of hydrogen chloride in flue gas released from waste incineration facilities. At the time, hydrogen chloride concentrations were analyzed manually. However, the process was so difficult that measurement results tended to differ even between specialists, and everyone believed that automatic analysis was impossible. For this continuous measuring instrument, KEM adopted a proprietary patented twin ion electrode method. It was an immediate commercial success due to its outstanding performance, which enabled long-term stable measurements. In addition to technological superiority, KEM quickly deployed a sales structure that proactively cultivated relationships with private plant manufacturers rather than relying on the conventional demand from government administration offices. As a result, KEM became a top manufacturer with this product, capturing approximately 90 % of the market share.
President Nagahiko Kishimoto received an award from the Japanese Minister of International Trade and Industry for meritorious deeds related to measurement.
KEM was licensed as a measuring instrument manufacturing business based on the Japanese Measurement Act, Article 13.
Released coulometric Karl Fischer moisture titrators, concentration meters for hydrogen chloride in flue gas, and concentration meters for fluorine compounds in flue gas.
Released concentration meters for sulfur compounds in flue gas, and TRS gas analyzers.
Released alkaline concentration meters.
Released concentration meters for sulfur compounds in flue gas.
Expanded market share with a succession of popular products: automatic potentiometric titrators, density/specific gravity meters, and Karl Fischer moisture titrators.
In terms of analytical Instruments for research, new models incorporating microcomputer technology were developed in succession in a variety of fields, with the aim of increasing sales and expanding the market.
In terms of potentiometric titrators, a new model integrated with a recorder (ATR-107) was released in 1977. In the following year, an automatic digital burette (APB-107) and an automatic multiple sample changer (CHG-107) were released simultaneously, with the aim of expanding the market in accordance with enhancement of peripheral equipment. In 1982, a new potentiometric titrator with built-in microcomputer (AT-118) was developed and sold. Sales were very good due to its excellent operability and enhanced functionality.
In 1978, KEM was the first Japanese manufacturer to release a vibration type density/specific gravity meter to measure the density/specific gravity of liquids. It was sold as an automatic density/specific gravity meter (DA-101B) incorporating microcomputer control.
Further, in 1981, KEM developed and sold new Karl Fischer moisture titrators (MKS-1 and MKA-3), which significantly improved conventional functionality and user friendliness. In addition to conventional use for academic research and development, they became widely adopted by ordinary businesses for quality control. With these new models, KEM became synonymous with Karl Fischer moisture titrators, a position that has been steadfastly maintained.
Tokyo Office expanded and transferred to Koto City, Tokyo.
Released potentiometric titration recording instruments.
Released portable conductivity meters, sodium hypochlorite concentration meters, sulfuric acid concentration meters, nitric acid concentration meters, hydrochloric acid color and turbidity meters, and calcium concentration meters.
Masuko Kishimoto was appointed Representative Director and President.
Released moisture meters for flue gas and silica concentration meters.
Released automatic density/specific gravity meters equipped with microprocessors.
Released automatic multiple sample titrators and flue gas moisture meters.
Completed the Stage 4 addition to the Main Plant.
Released portable DO meters, automatic ammonia analysis instruments, automatic phosphorus analysis instruments, automatic magnesium analysis instruments, automatic COD analyzers for multiple samples, hypochlorous acid concentration meters, and hydrogen fluoride leak monitors.
Released high temp thermal conductivity meters.
Released continuous analyzers for fluorine compounds in flue gas, hydrogen chloride analyzers, and automatic uranium analysis systems.
Established the Osaka Office in Higashi-ku, Osaka.
Capital stock increased to 30 million yen.
Released automatic measuring instruments for chlorine in flue gas.
Released automatic plutonium analysis systems.
Released multiple sample constant volume titration systems, multiple sample density meter systems, and specific conductivity meters.
Transferred the Tokyo Office to Chiyoda City, Tokyo.
Released automatic potentiometric titrators, continuous on-line titration systems, and the APB series of automatic burettes/piston burettes.
Acquired the thermal measuring instruments department of Showa Denko.
In 1986, KEM acquired all patents, and manufacturing and sales rights related to thermal measuring instrument business from Showa Denko, a top manufacturer of heat flow meters and thermal conductivity meters. A thermal measuring instrument from Showa Denko became the first heat flow meter (HFM-MR) released by KEM. Next, KEM began sales of a quick thermal conductivity meter (QTM-D3) obtained from the same acquisition while also releasing a new thermal manikin (thermal insulation measuring instrument) in the shape of the human body, capable of measuring indoor temperature fluctuations. These vaulted KEM to a top manufacturer in the thermal measurement field.
Masuko Kishimoto was appointed Representative Director and Chairperson, and Yoichi Ueda was appointed Representative Director and President.
Released conductivity meters for ultrapure water.
Acquired Showa Denko’s thermal measuring instrument business, and released heat flow meters, quick thermal conductivity meters, and thermal insulation measuring instruments.
Stage 3 Aiming for International Predominance
(1987 to 2005)
Highly functional and operable models became successful products.
- Density/specific gravity meters with built-in thermostatic functionality, and automatic potentiometric titrators with interactive displays and built-in floppy disk drive
In 1987, vibration type density/specific gravity meters became accredited for concentration measurements of crude oil and petroleum products as per JIS standards. KEM took this opportunity to release new density/specific gravity meters (DA-200 and 210). Further, in 1989, KEM developed and released groundbreaking models of these products (DA-300 and 310) with built-in thermostatic functionality for setting the measurement temperature range, a world’s first. This significantly reduced measurement times and increased precision, improving stability. The new models had explosive sales, and became widely adopted not only for conventional concentration measurements of crude oil and petroleum products but also for quality control by soft drink manufacturers and in relation to Japanese sake and other alcohol products.
In terms of automatic potentiometric titrators, in 1988, an interactive display model with built-in floppy disk drive (AT-310) was released. The excellent functionality and operability of this product made it very popular. As a result, KEM captured the top share of the Japanese market for potentiometric titrators, which had an impact even on overseas markets.
Established the Fukuoka Local Office in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka.
Released density/specific gravity meters. Six models including the AT-210 automatic potentiometric titrator and the MKC-210 Karl Fischer moisture titrator were selected as Good Design Products by the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
Acquired land for building the Second Plant in Minami-ku, Kyoto. Elevated the Fukuoka Local Office to the Fukuoka Office.
Released multiple point heat flow meters and thermal manikins.
Released density/specific gravity meters with built-in thermostatic functionality, and portable density/specific gravity meters.
Constructed the Second Plant and the Kyushu Laboratory.
The heat flow measuring instrument field was expanding, the new models of the automatic potentiometric titrators and density/specific gravity meters were popular, and production was increasing due to the provision of OEM items to overseas agents. As a result, space at the Main Plant became inadequate, and in 1990, the Second Plant was built on land close to the Head Office.
Following completion of the Second Plant, the Kyushu Laboratory was established in Kitakyushu City in 1993, with the goal of strengthening the research and development system for heat flow meters, thermal conductivity meters, and other heat-related business activities.
Established and operated the Second Plant in Minami-ku, Kyoto. Established the Yokohama Local Office in Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama.
Transferred the Osaka Office to Chuo-ku, Osaka. Elevated the Yokohama Local Office to the Yokohama Office.
Released dynamic elastic modulus measuring instruments.
Purchased land for the Kyushu Laboratory in Kitakyushu Techno Park (Tobata-ku, Kitakyushu), and began Stage 1 construction.
Released automatic on-line boron analysis instruments, the AT-400 automatic potentiometric titrators, and the DA-100 density/specific gravity meters.
Developed heat stroke checkers to prevent heatstroke.
In 1993, KEM developed and released a heat stroke checker (WBGT-101) to measure WBGT values for the purpose of preventing heatstroke. A miniature version of this, the portable heat stroke checker (WBGT-103) became a popular product and was adopted in many situations, such as at sporting venues, and at building sites and other places where manual labor was performed.
These checkers were later supplied for the Atlanta Olympics, and received a commendation from the Japan Association of Athletics Federations in 1996. In 2003, through a partnership with the Japan Weather Association, information on preventing heatstroke from 48 locations nationwide was released on their website.
Established the Kyushu Laboratory and Kyushu Office.
Tokyo Office expanded and transferred to Chiyoda City, Tokyo, and integrated with the Yokohama Office.
Released heat stroke checkers and amenity meters. Body temperature sensor for air conditioning passed technical evaluation tests by the Japanese Ministry of Construction, and KEM received a written evaluation.
Developed refractometers using proprietary technology.
In 1994, a refractometer (RA-510) was developed to analyze components in foods and chemical products. It was intended to become a core product in the field of analysis instruments for research. In a world’s first, built-in thermostatic functionality for setting the measurement temperature range, which was achieved through the development of density/specific gravity meters, was applied to a refractometer. Incorporation of this function significantly reduced measurement times and enabled high-accuracy measurements, thereby having a major impact.
In 1998, a new model (RA-500) was released with an expanded measurement range to accommodate even spices and petroleum products with a high refractive index. This model was deployed widely, not only for sale in Japan but also in overseas markets.
In 2002, in a world’s first, a portable brix meter (RA-150), which was digital and easy to transport, was developed. Conventionally, handy refractometers were widely used at food related plants, but this model was welcomed by customers as a groundbreaking alternative.
Released automatic analyzers for total phosphorus and total nitrogen.
KEM was registered and accredited for ISO 9002 (international quality assurance standards) by the Japan Quality Assurance Organization (JQA).
Received certificate of compliance with EMI/EMS standards from the CE mark licensing agency.
KEM was awarded the 21st Invention Award Sasakawa Special Prize for the Karl Fischer moisture titrator electrode potential detection method. The prize was awarded by the Japan Society for the Advancement of Inventions and by the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun.
Received a commendation from the Japan Association of Athletics Federations for supplying heat stroke checkers to the Atlanta Olympics.
Released Windows compatible automatic potentiometric titrators and beer analyzers.
Acquired the Third Plant in Minami-ku, Kyoto.
Released beverage components analyzers and gas volume analyzers.
Extended the Second Plant. Created a website.
Released laser flash thermophysical properties analyzers and hot disk thermal constants analyzers.
KEM was registered and accredited for ISO 9001 by the JQA.
Received research commission from the Japan Small and Medium Enterprise Corporation for the development of continuous dioxin measuring instruments.
Released thermal manikins for fire.
KEM was registered and accredited for ISO 14001 by the JQA.
Received research commission from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for R&D regarding multiple component simultaneous measuring instruments for hormone disrupting chemicals in the environment.
Released ultrasonic concentration meters.
Received research commission from the Japan Small and Medium Enterprise Corporation for R&D related to manikins with movable joints and the capacity to perspire, using high-accuracy piston burettes.
Received research commission from the Japan Science and Technology Corporation regarding simultaneous high-accuracy measuring instruments for thermal diffusivity, specific heat capacity, and thermal conductivity via the laser flash method.
Received JCSS agency accreditation for density standard liquids and vibration type density/specific gravity meters.
In 2002, KEM was accredited as a calibration laboratory for density standard liquids and vibration type density meters, a first for Japan, under the Japan Calibration Service System (JCSS) based on the Japanese Measurement Act. As a result, KEM became capable of issuing calibration certificates with the JCSS seal certifying traceability to national measurement standards.
Released heat stroke checkers to prevent heatstroke, and portable brix meters.
Received research commission from the Japan Small and Medium Enterprise Corporation for R&D regarding multiple-component concentration monitoring systems for trace quantities of environmental gas pollutants across wide regions.
Accredited as a density calibration laboratory, the first in Japan, by the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE).
Yoichi Ueda, Representative Director and President (at the time) was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for contributions to the development of the analytical instrument industry.
Received research recommission from the Research Association of Micro Chemical Process Technology for R&D for microchip technology.
Donated 50 million yen to Ehime University and established the KEM Environmental Analytical Chemistry Program (until 2007).
KEM was awarded the 29th Invention Award Fukuda Special Prize for ultrasonic velocity measurement methods. The prize was awarded by the Japan Society for the Advancement of Inventions and by the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun.
Released refined sake meters. Released Karl Fischer moisture titrators capable of simultaneous concurrent titration by the coulometric method and the volumetric method. Received subsidiary aid from the Hokkaido Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry for the development of production techniques for anti-dioxin single chain antibodies from plants.
Transferred the Tokyo Office to Kudan, Chiyoda City, Tokyo. KEM was recognized for corporate excellence by the Shimogyo tax office superintendent.
Released sample preparation devices for dioxin analysis and dioxin bio sensors.
Received research commission from the Japan Science and Technology Agency for a prototype of a non contact and non destructive measuring instrument for the physical properties of the surface of soft materials using electric field tweezers.
Stage 4: Cultivation of New Markets
(2006 to 2013)
Cultivation of new international markets
In 2007, the Overseas Sales & Marketing Dept. became independent of the Sales & Marketing Div. (at the time), and began a proactive sales. In order to expand sales markets, KEM exhibited in global exhibitions including ARABLAB (Dubai, UAE) in 2007, and PITTCON (New Orleans, USA) and analytica (Munich, Germany) in 2008, striving to improve KEM brand recognition and technological appeal.
In addition, partnerships with influential companies in a variety of countries were proactively pursued, as was the cultivation of global markets by signing exclusive distribution rights agreements, jointly developing products, and co-hosting exhibitions and seminars.
In 2007, in response to an increase in customers and an expansion of production scale due to proactive overseas development, the Third Plant was constructed on land acquired in the vicinity of the Main Plant.
Released liquid specific heat capacity meters.
Released methanol concentration meters and perspiring manikins.
Embedded methanol concentration metes for portable fuel cells were released in 2007, and had a significant impact as products contributing to the practical use of fuel cells, a promising alternative energy source aimed at preventing global warming.
That same year, KEM thermal manikins were adopted as manikins for fire for evaluating the heat resistance and fire proof properties of fire-fighting apparel by the Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency, expanding the scope of their application. In 2008, KEM developed and released perspiring manikins as an application of thermal manikins. These manikins combined KEM’s proprietarily developed thermal environment measuring instruments with a perspiration system equivalent to that in humans, and were capable of creating the conditions that exist when people perspire. They were sold primarily for research into the comfort of materials in the textile industry.
Established and operated the Third Plant in Minami-ku, Kyoto.
Elevated the Tokyo Office to the Tokyo Branch.
KEM was selected by the Japanese Small and Medium Enterprise Agency as one of the 300 proactive small and medium manufacturing companies.
Released methanol concentration meters.
Established the Nagoya Office in Nagoya and the Sendai Office in Sendai.
Chairperson (at the time) Yoichi Ueda was appointed President of the Kyoto Scientific Instruments Association.
Released luminance meters.
Established KEM China through joint investment in Shanghai, China. Established West Japan Customer Support (Shunan) in Shunan City, Yamaguchi.
Released the latest models of refractometers and density/specific gravity meters.
The Japanese Ministry of the Environment included the KEM’s simple dioxin analysis system in the notification law entitled “Simple Measurement Method for Dioxins in Flue Gas, Dust, and Cinders (Bioassay Method)” and mentioned the PCB analysis system in the “Simple Measurement Method Manual Related to Trace Quantity PCBs in Insulating Oil.”
Acquired JCSS agency accreditation for refractive index standard liquids and refractometers.
Subsequent to density standard liquids and vibration type density meters in 2002, KEM was accredited as a JCSS calibration laboratory for refractive index standard liquids and refractometers in 2011. KEM was the first company in Japan compliant with the international mutual recognition agreement (MRA) regarding calibration of refractive index standard liquids and refractometers, and was also internationally recognized, thereby providing fundamental support for the reliability of test and measurement data.
Celebrated the 50th anniversary of KEM.
Honored with testimonials from Fukushima City and Hachinohe City for assistance during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
Released the AT-700 automatic potentiometric titrator and the CHA-700 multiple sample changer.
KEM was recognized by the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE) as a calibration laboratory for refractive index standard liquids and refractometers.
Released SD type quick alcohol measurement systems and EMS viscometers.
In 2012, KEM released a quick alcohol measurement system (SD-700), developed in cooperation with a sake manufacturer. This instrument measures the concentration of alcohol in alcoholic beverages by utilizing density/specific gravity meter technology. Having passed the stringent evaluations of the Japanese National Tax Agency, this measurement method was recognized as “a rational and accurate alternative to the analysis method prescribed by the National Tax Agency.” It was well received primarily by the Japanese sake industry for its significant contributions to labor and time savings.
In 2013, a viscometer (EMS-1000) developed in cooperation with The University of Tokyo provided non-contact measurement, the first such functionality in the world. This cleared the way for measurements of samples that were difficult or complicated to measure using conventional methods.
Released all-in-one analyzers.
EMS viscometers received the SRJ Technical Development Award.
Karl Fischer moisture measuring instruments were recognized as a heritage of analytical and scientific instruments.
Received research commission from the Japan Science and Technology Agency for the development and implementation of revolutionary viscoelasticity measurement methods.
Transferred the Tokyo Branch to Shinjuku City, Tokyo.
Released hybrid Karl Fischer moisture titrators.
Released the EMS-1000 EMS viscometer, created through cooperative development with the Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo.
Stage 5: New Product Development and Overseas Strategies
(2014 to Present)
Further inroads into global markets
Further focus on overseas markets, with their prolonged favorable sales, became necessary. The number of employees in the overseas department was increased, and globalization of business activities has been pursued. In the first half of 2016, KEM exhibited at the world class PITTCON (USA) and analytica (Germany) exhibitions. During the same period, contracts were signed with sales representatives in order to guarantee a sales network in Eastern Europe. Additionally, secondment agreements were signed with sales representatives in the Southeast Asian region, enabling the dispatch of employees for the purpose of market research in this region.
Developed new products with consideration to the needs of customers overseas.
In accordance with full scale inroads overseas, product development has been pursued in line with the needs of overseas markets. Typical of the models released in 2014 were the Karl Fischer moisture titrators (MKV-710 and MKC-710) and the automatic potentiometric titrators (AT-710), which were miniaturized and made easier to operate following the model change. In anticipation of expanded sales overseas, some products acquired CE markings and other standards, and multilingual support was added for their LCD screen and instruction manuals.
Kyoko Kishimoto was appointed Representative Director and President.
Elevated the Osaka Office to the Osaka Branch, and the Kitakyushu Office to the Kyushu Branch.
Transferred the Fukuoka Office to Hakataekichuogai, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka.
Released the MD-700 series of mercury measuring instruments. With the release of the multiple sample autosampler for vibration type density meters for alcoholic drinks, the fully automatic SDK system was completed.
Transferred the Nagoya Office to Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya. In place of the Kitakyushu Office, the Fukuoka Office became the Kyushu Branch.
Participated, as the main sponsor, in the ICR2016 International Congress on Rheology in Kyoto.
Released the latest models of quick thermal conductivity meters.
KEM was selected as one of the companies driving regional growth.
Released the latest models of automatic analyzers for total phosphorus and total nitrogen.
JIS B 7922 “Electronic Wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index meter” was released, and the WBGT-200 series became compliant with these regulations.
Transferred the Osaka Branch to Otemae, Chuo-ku, Osaka.
Released the ALM-155 vibration type density meter for alcoholic drinks
(exclusively for measurements at 20 ℃).
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