2nd Engineering Section
Engineering & Quality Control Department (as of October 2017)
Since joining Nikon Vision, he has been totally dedicated to the evaluation and inspection of telescopes and binoculars over approx. 44 years. Applying his critical skills to the WX series binoculars was the final mission of his lengthy Engineering & Quality Control Department career.
The ultimate guardians of Nikon's reliability.
Nikon's philosophy is “Trustworthiness and Creativity”. Supporting that trustworthiness is quality, and supporting that quality is the Engineering & Quality Control Department.
Since day one at Nikon, Mr. Ushikubo has dedicated himself into maintaining superior quality control in the Engineering & Quality Control Department. As Mr. Ushikubo explains, “Unless our department approves, nothing leaves the factory. In that sense we are the ultimate guardians of Nikon's reliability.”
One of the important roles of the Engineering & Quality Control Department is product evaluation under development.
Binocular development advances in parallel like a pair of wheels joined by an axle. One is optical design that determines lens order and prism location, and the other is the mechanical design required to install them into a binocular body. The Engineering & Quality Control Department evaluates products at crucial points by teaming up with the Designing Department.
“For design evaluation, we thoroughly evaluate the product to confirm that actual performance meets the specifications. For example, we check whether the binoculars deliver the intended performance from the centre all the way to the periphery of the viewfinder. Regarding mechanical design, we evaluate the operating conditions of each component such as the dioptre adjustment ring utilising both equipment and tactile assessment manually.”
Because some optical parts need special inspections, the quality control of WX binoculars requires stricter standards than ever before. For instance, the accuracy of the prisms and characteristics of coatings are carefully evaluated.
As well as this, they are meticulously checked to confirm that everything is as designed in specifications, whether the performance meets the price, and how they compare with competitive products. Mr. Ushikubo and his team staff gathered high-end models of each manufacturing brand for comparison, then evaluated WX binoculars against them.
During the long development period, developers and quality control engineers worked closely, taking their respective roles seriously. It would be incorrect to say that there were never any internal conflicts.
Mr. Tatsushi Nishioka, one of the main development members of the WX binoculars, has a longer history at the company than Mr. Ushikubo. Mr. Ushikubo recognised that and also knew that Mr. Nishioka was a famous developer in the world of astronomy. However, sometimes Mr. Ushikubo had to confront him over certain concerns.
Luckily, the two of them were able to work late nights when they were handling a large amount of evaluations for automatic tracking equipment of astronomical telescopes, which encouraged their relationship of talking frankly with each other.
Mr. Ushikubo thinks back to that time.
“In order to satisfy customers, we never, ever compromised. That is it.”