IWAKI History

From a trading company in the laboratory sector to a leading manufacturer of pumps

Originally IWAKI was founded as a pure trading company for laboratory equipment by the Japanese engineer Yoshiaki Fujinaka in Tokyo in 1956. However they offered many other products, e.g. television sets and washing machines that were regarded as luxury goods at that time.

In the fifties, laboratories and the chemical industry started to use the solvent extraction as new analysis method which caused an increased demand for shakers. As a consequence, IWAKI further concentrated on the chemical sector, especially on the sales of "shakers" for laboratory applications.

From the trader to the manufacturer

Even then customer satisfaction took top priority at IWAKI and therefore, they quickly developed a base of customers. However, it was the primary objective to establish as a manufacturer. On the basis of the sales of shakers, they gained important experiences in dealing with equipment and saw the increasing demand as an excellent opportunity to manufacture these devices themselves. After many weeks of internal meetings, brainstorming and with the assistance of a famous professor, IWAKI invented its first shaker.

„Universal KM type shaker“
Figure: Universal KM type shaker

IWAKI enters in the development of pumps

The affinity to the chemical industry made IWAKI to develop their first two pumps in 1959. These two pumps were about a diaphragm pump (DP-1) and a bellows pump (BP-1) with pump heads of fluorine plastics. With this, it was then possible to convey aggressive media.

First IWAKI pumps
Figure: DP-1 & BP-1

The early 60s became a milestone for IWAKI. The increasing interest and the demand for chemical pumps resulted in the decision that IWAKI focused on the production of pumps. The company achieved a breakthrough when Yoshiaki Fujinaka, the founder of the company, invented the „Labo Pump“ (LP1), the first centrifugal pump of the world with a pump head made of fluorine plastics. The newly developed pump was reliable, compact and therefore, it was perfect to be integrated in devices (OEM).

In the sixties, automatic beverage dispensers were very popular but they did not have the design that we know today. A coin was inserted and then, the machine filled a glass with the selected beverage via a pump. In 1962, IWAKI received a first large order for the installation of its centrifugal pump LP-1 into an automatic beverage dispenser. After a short time, several Japanese manufacturers had implemented the pump.

Despite of this success in the field of beverage dispensers, IWAKI further focused on the chemical sector and developed the „MD-15“ model, the first magnetic drive pump of plastics, in 1967. From this, a complete series of models was developed called „MD“, which is the best-selling centrifugal pump worldwide and is being produced even today.

best-selling centrifugal pump worldwide
Figure: MD-15R

A few years later (1973), the first magnet driven process pump made of fluorine plastics (MD-F) came into the market. With this hermetically tight and corrosion-resistant design IWAKI made definitely the breakthrough as manufacturer of chemical pumps.

To gain access also to the international market, IWAKI booked an exhibition booth at the ACHEMA 1976 in Germany for the first time. Mr. Akira Aiyama was entrusted with this task from booking to the completed exhibition booth and to advising customer on site. It was the first stay in Germany at all; therefore there was a high tension. The exhibition was a great success; IWAKI found recognition worldwide as a manufacturer and in this way they could considerably expand their sales network within the next years.

To expand in Europe, the IWAKI Europe GmbH was founded in Düsseldorf in 1985, consisting of Mr. Akira Aiyama as managing director and two Japanese and two German employees. To be able to respond even faster and more flexibly on customer inquiries, the company moved from Düsseldorf to the current site in Willich on the Lower Rhine already in 1992. The location also includes the company-own production site, test stations and a central warehouse for Europe. Besides Germany, the IWAKI Europe GmbH possesses its own branches in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, as well as Poland and from there it supports numerous joint ventures and sales partners in Europe.

Since the invention of the first magnetic drive pump, IWAKI has been developing rapidly and is further massively investing in research and development. Approximately 20% of the employees are continuously developing new products and technologies and are closely working together with the sales and marketing departments that are collecting the customers' feedback and analysing the markets. In the meanwhile, the parent company with its headquarters in Tokyo, two manufacturing plants (Saitama and Miharu) and one Technical Center has increased to more than 900 employees. Today, IWAKI is a transnational company that, with its own subsidiaries, joint ventures and distributors, is present in more than 30 countries of the world.

The name IWAKI is a synonym for durability, highest quality, innovative products and hermetically tight pumps. The best example for this is the magnet-driven process pump in "non-contact or self-cooling" design as well as in a design that may run dry. Since 2014, by cooperation with the company SANWA (Japan), IWAKI has also been offering an extensive range of magnetic drive pumps made of stainless steel and special alloys. Now, the whole range of pumps includes more than 60 series of pumps with more than 600 variants. Besides the magnet-driven centrifugal and dosing pumps, IWAKI is also offering an extensive product line of gear pumps, turbine pumps, plunger pumps, air pumps, double diaphragm pumps and bellows pumps. This wide range of different pump designs provides solutions for nearly all applications, for all industrial fields, for the safe and reliable conveyance of liquid media.