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Aikawa consolidates to offer stock preparation solutions as AFT

For many years, Aikawa Iron Works worked quietly to build its foundation as a premier supplier of stock preparation technologies in Japan.  Its acquisitions of specialist companies such as AFT Screen Plates of Canada, Finebar of the USA,...


July 19, 2011
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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For many years, Aikawa Iron Works worked quietly to build its foundation as a premier supplier of stock preparation technologies in Japan.  Its acquisitions of specialist companies such as AFT Screen Plates of Canada, Finebar of the USA, and POM Technology of Finland were conducted with little fanfare.

“Perhaps we have operated under-the-radar,” admits Masaki Aikawa, Chairman of the Aikawa Group.  “But that has been our style.  We put performance ahead of self-promotion.”

 In pursuit of higher performance and recognition, the Aikawa Group is announcing a name change and a new, consolidated global organization. “This is in response to our customers’ requests,” Aikawa admits.  “They want alternatives to the packaged offerings of the ‘Big Box’ major suppliers.  They prefer the freedom to select the best single equipment, with the expertise to put systems together when required.” 

The new organization is being consolidated outside of Japan under the umbrella of Aikawa Fiber Technologies (AFT), which is guided by Michael Stephens as president. Stephens is a 35-year veteran of the pulp and paper industry.   Stephens says that AFT is being structured into teams to serve the three major customer groups for Aikawa outside Japan:  screen manufacturers (original equipment manufacturers) who contract with AFT for manufacturing of screen cylinders, plates, and rotors; mills who order these engineered wear parts directly from the company; and mills looking for technical solutions for fiber processing, stock preparation, and machine approach applications.

The fibre processing and stock preparation solutions are a combination of Aikawa technologies and the technologies of the former POM Technology Oy of Finland, which Aikawa acquired.  POM has a patented compact wet end technology for paper machines. The transition from separate companies to a unified AFT organization is currently underway and will be completed by year’s end, according to Stephens. AFT is a global supplier with manufacturing centers in Canada, China, Finland, Japan, and South Korea.