The Yamazaki Mazak Corporation is celebrating the far-reaching impact machine tools have on everyday life with the opening of the Yamazaki Mazak Museum of Machine Tools in Minokamo, Japan.
Opened to the public at the end of 2019 to mark the company’s 100th anniversary, the museum showcases the intrinsic link between Mazak’s history and the evolution of the technology.
Taking visitors from the tools of the 18th century right through to the modern age of connectivity and automation, visitors can also see an automatic production line that uses innovative IoT technology to manufacture machine parts for use in production processes. It is a reminder of how far the technology has progressed, and aims to serve as further inspiration for the next generation of engineers and industrial decision-makers.
Its exhibits also highlight the status of machine tools as ‘mother machines’ that produce the parts required to keep vital equipment operational in highly important industries, including the aerospace, medical and automotive sectors.
These educational exhibits include several traditional machine tools in working condition and products they play a vital part in producing, including cars, aircraft and a steam train. These machines and items have been painstakingly restored in co-operation with manufacturers from all over the world, offering insight into both the heritage of a wide array of industries. The exhibits also show the integral contribution machine tools have made to continued innovation and technological advancement within these sectors. Furthermore, the museum features an educational corner where children can enjoy hands-on learning and discover more about the technology.
The museum itself was constructed with sustainability in mind. It is located 11m underground in a renovated Mazak laser cutting machine assembly facility and utilises geothermal energy to regulate internal temperature. As a result, the electrical consumption required to heat and cool the museum is much less than that of an equivalent-sized above-ground facility.
“Machine tools provide absolutely vital support to manufacturing worldwide, meaning they are also vital to the workings of everyday life,” said Richard Smith, European group managing director at Yamazaki Mazak Europe. “The Yamazaki Mazak Museum of Machine Tools is a fitting tribute to the massive contribution of these ‘mother machines’ to technological advancement and their impact on society as a whole.
“As these machines are mainly used for industrial production in factories, the general public may not be aware of their existence and widespread use. Through this unique museum, opened to celebrate our 100th anniversary, we hope to demonstrate the importance of machine tools to the next generation and how Mazak has been integral to the continued development of the technology behind them.”