Technology & Philosophy

vol.6

The Foundation of NIKKOR Lenses

Hikari Glass' Akita plant

Production DivisionAkio Arai

Hikari Glass built its plant in Akita in 1975. The people who grew up surrounded by Akita Prefecture's clean air and water do not say much, but they are straightforward and tough.

The character of these people is well suited to the craftsmanship we demand. Hikari Glass' growth has contributed greatly to the revitalization of the region.

Akio Arai

Production Division, Hikari Glass Co., Ltd.

Mr. Arai began working in Nikon's (then Nippon Kogaku) glass manufacturing division in 1981. After working in several lens departments, he was seconded to Hikari Glass in 2006. Mr. Arai's interest in photography did not emerge until he began working at Nikon. In his first year with the company, he purchased an FE, and the fire was lit. Since then, he has been eager to use every lens and camera composed of the glass and aspherical lens elements manufactured at his workplace. Cars are his hobby, so his days off are spent driving with a camera and one or more interchangeable lenses riding shotgun.

The desire to pursue the ultimate in NIKKOR quality, and means of achieving it

Production DivisionIzumi Chiba

I honestly have never thought that quality standards for optical glass are particularly strict, supposing that is the way it is. There are only a few companies around the world producing optical glass, and our company has so much technical capability and know-how that other companies simply cannot compete. For example, we design, assemble, and repair the equipment used to produce optical glass ourselves. It is these skills that make us able to improve equipment in order to fulfill the specifications Nikon demands.

Any of our employees who work hard will become every bit as skilled as dedicated engineers, and I think that our employees are even better at handling a platinum crucible than are dedicated craftsmen. The times may change, but the foundation doesn't. Only the Nikon Group is involved in the entire production of its optical devices, from production of optical glass to the completed product. Unless we keep on manufacturing, we cannot cultivate true engineers, and innovation is not possible. We are proud to say that the Nikon Group, including Hikari Glass, shares this spirit.

Izumi Chiba

Production Division, Hikari Glass Co., Ltd.

Izumi Chiba answered an ad for employment and began working at Hikari Glass when they established their dissolution plant in 1989. For 26 years he was involved in the production of optical glass as a member of the manufacturing department. In 2015, he transferred to his current post in the processing department. With Nikon's 2004 acquisition of Hikari Glass as a wholly owned subsidiary, Mr. Chiba gradually acquired an interest in cameras. He currently owns a Nikon U2 film camera and a D60 digital camera, both of which he uses primarily to photograph his child's extra-curricular activities.

The pride of Hikari Glass: Inheriting the Technologies of which only Hikari Glass is capable

Production DivisionKota Sato

The Nikon Group represents one of only a very few manufacturers in the world that itself completes every aspect of optical device production from initial development of optical glass to completion of the final product.

To further increase the already superior performance of NIKKOR lenses, with demands for optical glass that meets strict specifications, Nikon introduces quality engineering, makes skills into technologies, establishes flexible production technologies, and increases the level of craftsmanship.We collaborate with design departments to support the production of the best NIKKOR lenses possible, and will continue to develop high-quality optical glass to that end.

Kota Sato

Production Division, Hikari Glass Co., Ltd.

While looking for a job in his home Prefecture of Akita, Kota Sato came across Hikari Glass, which supports the Nikon brand. As he would be able to make use of his university degree in chemical engineering, Mr. Sato accepted a job at Hikari Glass in 2009. After joining the company, he was involved in the development of dissolution technologies and equipment through control of the dissolution process. One type of glass is the source of some difficult memories for Mr. Sato. That type of glass was first adopted for the Nikon 1 V1, which was his first camera. He was drawn to the fact that lenses are interchangeable, and the camera easily captures beautiful photos.

Ensuring the ultimate in quality for NIKKOR products born in Akita

Production DivisionAkiko Kimura

The production of optical glass is the first step in the production of NIKKOR lenses. An irregularity or substandard aspect at this initial stage has a great influence not only on the final product, but also on later production processes. As this process is so very important, strict inspections and checks are repeatedly performed with each step in the production process. The work of many people is linked to the superior quality of the final product.

Optical glass is especially difficult because it is so delicate. Quality can vary with the slightest changes in production conditions. Therefore, we keep an eye on changes in quality, and place great importance on the sharing of information between production and engineering departments, always striving for stable craftsmanship.

Further, we ensure superior precision by guaranteeing a refractive index, which greatly influences camera performance, with 6 decimal places in order to fulfill the strict specifications of NIKKOR lenses.

We are always working to maintain quality through precise measurement and careful inspection so that all users of NIKKOR lenses are able to capture the perfect moment.

Akiko Kimura

Production Division, Hikari Glass Co., Ltd.

Akiko Kimura began working at Hikari Glass Co., Ltd. in 2004. She spent her first two years developing compositions for optical glass. After that, she switched to her current post in the quality assurance department, where she is involved with all aspects of quality control and assurance. As customers become more and more demanding in terms of quality, she always asks herself what must be solved to ensure quality while keeping an eye on both production conditions and user needs. Her child recently began playing basketball, so she finds herself using her D5100 more frequently, and is working to increase her skills with the camera.