Global Programs Blog


Evelyn Hernandez (JD '1​8)
Legal and Internal Audit Department, Kobelco Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, Japan

​Made by KOBELCO

As part of my internship, Kobelco wanted me to fully understand what “Made by KOBELCO” meant. Thus they arranged several tours so I could see see the manufacturing process of both cranes and excavators from start to finish. For this, Yoshikawa-san and I began our journey by riding the Shinkansen (also known as the bullet train) to Kakogawa in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. The Shinkansen connects most major cities in Japan and runs at a maximum speed of 186 mph -- riding the Shinkansen was definitely a great experience. What was most impressive of the Shinkansen was how reliable it is. All of the trains are very punctual, with an average annual delay of only 54 seconds per train. Therefore, the most important part of this trip was not to miss our train!

Our first stop was Kakogawa Works, a steel works factory operated by Kobe Steel, Ltd. (“Kobe Steel”). Kakogawa Works is located in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. Kobe Steel is the parent company of Kobelco and owns 100% of its shares. Joining us on this tour was Wang-san, an attorney from China interning with Kobe Steel in their Tokyo office, and Sakaguchi-san, a new employee of Kobe Steel. Once we arrived at Kakogawa Works, we were given a detailed explanation of the steel factory and then were handed a coat, gloves, and a hardhat to begin our tour. In the tour, we were able to see how iron and steel are made from beginning to end. Seeing how iron was made in person was extremely fascinating. This factory is located on the port to make importing and exporting easier. Kobe Steel also provides its own electricity for the entire facility, which I found intriguing. To see a virtual tour of Kakogawa Works, you can click the following link:

 After visiting Kakogawa works and seeing how raw materials are made into steel and iron, we continued our tour by visiting the Okubo Factory of Kobelco. Okubo Factory, located in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan as well, is the principal crane factory. Once we arrived, we were greeted by Saito-san, the general manager of this factory and were given an in-depth presentation regarding the crane production of Kobelco that included the history of cranes, the quantity produced yearly, and the type of cranes produced. Following the presentation, we were given a tour of the factory. The Okubo Factory layout is organized to provide a smooth and efficient assembly of cranes from start to finish. They also have the latest technology, which helps the efficient production of cranes. After our tour, we enjoyed a delicious dinner with Saito-san who generously invited us to experience Kobe beef. Kobe beef was definitely unlike any other meat I have ever tried before. If you are ever in Japan, make sure to try Kobe beef!

Next in our tour was​ a visit to the main excavator factory, Itsukaichi Factory of Kobelco. Itsukaichi Factory is a relatively new factory located in the Hiroshima Prefecture of Japan. This factory manufactures medium​-to-large-sized hydraulic excavators. The factory is very bright, clean, and extremely organized. ​We were given a tour and shown how various excavators are manufactured. In this factory, they emphasize cleanliness and safety as their main priorities. They also had the latest technology, including robots that transported equipment within the factory.

Finally, to finish off our tour, we were taken to the testing facilities of Kobelco where the newest excavators are tested. Here I was able to learn how excavators are operated and other logistics related to the excavators.

Since we were in Hiroshima, I was not going to pass up the chance to do some sightseeing after a long and hard day at work! Yoshikawa-san insisted we see the Itsukushima Shrine on the island of Miyajima. This shrine is mainly known for its “floating” torii gate, which appears to be floating during high tide. During low tide, people can approach it by foot. Luckily, it was high tide on the day we went. To get to Miyajima Island, we boarded a ferry that took us to the island. Once there, the local deer who roam the island pleasantly greeted us. We arrived just in time for sunset and were able to see the beautiful torii gate with the sunset in the background. Yoshikawa-san and I found a bench to sit after taking beautiful pictures of the torii gate and soaked in the beautiful moment.
Thank you Message to Kobelco
Kobe Beef
Hiroshima Bay
Hiroshima Bay Shrine