D-Pace Representative Feature: Hakuto, Co. Ltd.
Dehnel Consulting Ltd. was formed in 1995, providing engineering services to accelerator-based clients. Over the next few years, the company grew to include hardware development, manufacturing, and sales and changed its name to Dehnel – Particle Accelerator Components & Engineering, Inc. (D-Pace, Inc.) in 2004, creating their first ion source within the first year.
Across the globe, in Tokyo, Japan, Hakuto Co. Ltd. had been operating since 1953, originally as a trading company dealing in the import and re-sale of crystal ore from Brazil. Five years later, the company expanded to the importation and sale of electronic measuring instruments. In 1963, Hakuto established their chemical division, for production and sale of industrial chemicals, as well as the provision of related engineering services.
The company continued to grow, and in 1970, Hakuto Chemical Co. Ltd. established the Yokkaichi Factory and Research Laboratory. Over the years, Hakuto opened several branches around Japan, and established Hakuto California, Inc. in 2002. Today, the company has four divisions: Chemicals & Cosmetics, Electronic Components, Electronic & Electric Equipment, and a substantial presence in the Semiconductor industry. For the layperson, Semiconductors are an essential component of electronic devices, enabling advances in communications, computing, healthcare, military systems, transportation, clean energy, and countless other applications.
In 1972, Hakuto began to represent products for other companies in the Asian market, beginning with USA’s NEC (National Electrostatics Corporation), who make a wide variety of Pelletron accelerator systems and Pfeiffer Vacuum from Germany, a company providing vacuum equipment to a variety of customers, including the semiconductor and R&D industry. Many Hakuto customers are connected to the accelerator industry, from national labs to universities.
Back in Canada in 1995, Dr. Morgan Dehnel, the founder of D-Pace, Inc. was looking for a representative in Japan when a mutual contact from the accelerator industry led him to Mr. Tsugio Saitoh, who was a Section Manager at Hakuto at that time. Mr. Saitoh’s background was in atomic/nuclear physics, and he joined Hakuto in 1973 to work in accelerator and scientific equipment. Morgan was able to visit Japan shortly after, for a first of many visits, where he and Mr. Tsugio Saitoh toured company sites and consulted with potential customer, Daiichi Radioisotope Laboratories, Ltd. on a cyclotron upgrade. Although business trips to Japan could require great endurance, where visiting two or three companies per day across almost any region of Japan was possible, Dr. Dehnel recalls also the interesting cultural experiences of being introduced to a variety of Japanese foods, and having many discussions about music with Mr. Saitoh, particularly regarding bands such as Pink Floyd that they had both listened to in their youth. Mr. Saitoh spent 41 years in the accelerator business, retiring in 2014, though he still supports customers and Hakuto from time to time.
These days, Hakuto’s Mr. Koji Murata promotes D-Pace products in Japan from the head office in Tokyo. Mr. Murata has been working for Hakuto for 20 years, starting as a Product Engineer, then moving into sales with Mr. Saitoh about ten years ago. Due to covid, Mr. Murata has been working from home, but he does not miss the daily commute from Shinjuku station, where an estimated 200k users take the train every day. D-Pace is in Nelson (population 12k), set in the interior mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Hakuto seems worlds away, in bustling Tokyo, with a population of 37.5 million. Despite the distance and different cultures, Mr. Murata shares a love of snow sports and craft beer with many D-Pace employees and hopes to visit the D-Pace office in the future.
In 2019, the partnership reached a milestone when Hakuto facilitated a significant $1+ million USD project for D-Pace, to develop and test an ion source system in collaboration with Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ion Technology Co., Ltd. of Japan. An ion source is a device that creates atomic and molecular ions. Ion sources are used to form ions for mass spectrometers, optical emission spectrometers, particle accelerators, ion implanters and ion engines. D-Pace’s ion source research, expertise, and sales have been growing steadily and the company looks forward to becoming a global ion source expert.
Looking to the future, Mr. Murata sees consumer trends leaning towards the automotive, new energy, and semiconductor industries, particularly the communications, privacy, and mobile manufacturing sectors. As the market grows and changes, D-Pace looks forward to future collaborations with Hakuto and is very grateful for Hakuto’s support and hard work over the last 25 years.