Lucite International (LI) is celebrating 25 years of a strong working partnership that has led to LI customer, Cleanup Corporation, becoming a leading kitchen and bathroom supplier in Japan. Running alongside is another special story of friendship; Nick Avino, now Composites Business Manager, based in Darwen, UK and Tom Tamaki, now President of LI Japan (LIJ), have enjoyed 24 years of working together to develop LI’s composites business into the success it is today.
This year, Hideo Suzuki, Chief Planning and Development at the Product Development Division of Cleanup Corporation and five of his colleagues visited LI in Darwen to mark the fantastic 25-year milestone. But, their trip turned out to be much more; a celebration of working progress, a chance to experience local culture, a time to plan for the future and, most importantly, a time to reflect on the strong relationships that have underpinned both business and personal success stories.
The technical cooperation between LI and Cleanup began in 1988. Early days were about experimenting with composite formulae, how these would work with moulds, what colours and effects could be created, in 1991 Nick created the Asterite® black sparkle effect. Nick comments:
“Many of the first colours and effects were developed in Darwen. During my time in the product development lab, one of the projects I worked on was a sparkle effect, which is still going strong today. Around this time Tom was seconded to Darwen. He was the first person I saw mould sinks in our composites lab! Tom and I have worked together for almost as long as the technical cooperation with Cleanup and we’ve shared lots of great times learning and developing together.”
As LI’s knowledge and experience of acrylic solutions for bathrooms and kitchens has developed, its progress has been mirrored by Cleanup. Cleanup Corporation has always been keen to innovate and work closely with LI to develop products for kitchen sinks and surfaces, vanity basins, baths and bathroom floors. Technical teams led by LI’s Glenn Apsey in Darwen and Shigeki Matsuhisa at Ibaraki, Japan have played an essential part in this process. Today, more than 60 years after it was founded, Cleanup Corporation is as thoroughly innovative as ever and prides itself as the kitchen company that connects with customers in Japan.
President and CEO, Kyoichi Inoue, beautifully captures where Cleanup is heading as it embarks on a new era of growth, “As we celebrate our 60th anniversary, we have decided to set forth ‘creating cheerful smiles in the family’ as our new corporate philosophy and have declared a new beginning for the company. It is important to maintain an awareness of our customers’ lives in order to propose lifestyles and home environments that reflect the times. The diverse expertise and inspiration that has been cultivated over years of experience, as well as the joy and courage that we receive from our customers, really provide us with momentum.”