Operated by TechShop Japan Limited, TechShop Tokyo is an open-access, membership-based DIY workshop and fabrication studio that opened for business in April of 2016, it being located in Tokyo’s Akasaka District at the Ark Mori Building. TechShop Japan Limited was established on October 1, 2015 (as a 100% paid-up subsidiary of Fujitsu Corporation).
As to what characterises TechShop Tokyo, the facility possesses numerous advantages, first among which is its sheer scale. With 1,200 square metres of available floorspace and a ceiling clearance of 8 metres, the business has 50 different machine tools located on site. What is more, while fully utilising its spaciousness, TechShop Tokyo doesn’t merely focus on digital fabrication machines. Rather, it offers to its membership base hands-on opportunities to use a wide range of different machine tools, among which some can handle tasks such as metal-processing, woodworking, and even welding, etc.
TechShop Tokyo’s second big advantage lies in the diversity of its membership base, which is rapidly approaching 1,000 in number. Having proved very popular with corporate clients, such now comprise one-third of the total membership. In that a corporate membership requires that at least five individuals register to use the TechShop Tokyo facilities, the workshop now has numerous big businesses on its books. These members have joined for various purposes, such including the fleshing-out of new business ideas, the prototyping of new products, and for networking opportunities among the growing TechShop Tokyo membership community. Meanwhile, membership has also proven very popular among start-ups, businesses backed by venture capital, university research laboratories, and groups of students exploring business ideas, etc. Additionally, across various domains, in looking towards the future, TechShop Tokyo is hoping to focus more closely on efforts to support both business-incubation and development activities.
TechShop Tokyo’s third big advantage lies in the events that it conducts. As corporate occasions, it provides a venue for open-innovation discussions where people can get together to work with one another to develop new businesses and formulate new ideas. Meanwhile, among its membership of roughly 1,000 highly-creative and positive minds whose background stretches right across the manufacturing sector, both individuals and groups can also use full-function machine tools to turn out high-quality prototypes at organised events. It is this ability to plan, manage, implement and provide such events in which TechShop Tokyo’s excels.
Two years after the laser cutters were introduced, President Arisaka of TechShop Japan had the following to say about the company’s Trotec units: “Our Trotec purchases have performed very much as we had expected. What is more, we are currently considering additional installations.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Kengo Fujimori, Dream Consultant Leader at TechShop Tokyo offered the following comment: “Our Trotec laser cutters are the most popular piece of equipment among the members of our workshop. They are very quick at completing the processing tasks that are assigned to them, and they can also speedily and accurately cut out very fine lettering. They are the most essential piece of equipment we possess here at TechShop Tokyo.”
When TechShop Tokyo was initially preparing to open its doors for business, Mr. Shoichi Arisaka, the President & Representative Director of TechShop Japan Limited, decided that Trotec equipment would be installed. “We had a discussion internally as whether to go with Trotec, or with the equipment of another manufacturer. However, in that we placed a great importance on the servicing of any purchases taking place right here in Japan, we settled on Trotec. That is because we heard great praise of them from a fabrication laboratory whom we trust. They mentioned Trotec’s high service standards, including in the area of processing technologies.”
Furthermore, from among the more than 50 types of machine tool that TechShop Tokyo has installed, President Arisaka offered the following comment with regard to its utilisation of its Trotec laser cutters. “Without doubt, they are our most-utilised pieces of equipment. In that we had some concerns about the possibility of their high-utilisation from the outset, I think we were right to install five Trotec laser cutter units from the beginning.”
Of TechShop Tokyo’s five Trotec laser cutters, four are medium-sized Speedy 300 units, with two each assigned for cutting plastics and wood. The other is a large-sized Speedy 400 laser cutter. Furthermore, as SBU equipment that is used at events and during programs, a tradition has been set of selecting a laser cutter for use in demonstrations. That means that almost everybody who prototypes something ends up coming into contact with the Trotec laser cutters.