• 01 Founder's Passion for Manufacturing
  • 02 History as Pioneer of Measuring Equipment
  • 03 Consolidation with azbil Group

History as Pioneer of Measuring Equipment

Following high spirit of the founder who developed the first Japanese-made gas meter, Kimmon as the pioneer of metrological equipment has been producing various merchandises that answers the needs of age and society throughout the company’s history of over one century.

  • Started full production of die-cast merchandises in 1930.
  • Started manufacturing the mass flow gas meter and roots gas meter for city gas in 1939.

Y1953 : Developed the first LPG meter in Japan

First Japanes made LPG meter
Although propane gas was the popular heating resource for both industrial and residential uses in the United States and European countries, Japanese realized for the first time that it could be used as heating resource when Zeppelin LZ127 airship stopped over at Ibaraki prefecture in 1929. The fact that the propane diluted by hydrogen was used for airship renewed Japanese perception, and since then, the propane gas, called LPG was gradually introduced, particularly in rural areas, for residential use.
In this period, as LPG was sold by fuel canister it was inconvenient that the quantity of remaining gas inside was unknown until the pressure drops or the canister becomes completely empty.
In order to resolve this problem, Kimmon improved the existing city gas meter and produced the LPG meter which made it possible to sell on an actual consumption basis instead of a canister basis. Besides, users appreciated the convenience of not having to care the remaining gas because the fuel supply management was relegated from the user to the supplier.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • Second World War ended
  • United States conducted H-bomb test
  • Started manufacturing of the mercury lamp with quartz glass as a material in 1956.

Y1960 : Prior to the other manufacturers, Kimmon developed a water meter with plastic made inside mechanism (PW type).

PW type water meter
As requested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Waterworks Bureau, Kimmon, who had been studying the meter with plastic as an inner material for about two years, promptly took an action to improve its sensitivity so that it can catch even negligible water flow. The sensitivity of the developed meter was drastically improved thanks to plastic materials as opposed to metallic materials which is affected more easily due to water stain and free carbonic acid contained in the potable water.
Not only a material change but also a lighter plastic wheel made it possible to develop a remarkably accurate and sensitive meter, which can measure in wide range of water flow, with longer lifetime.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • Tokyo Olympic
  • Vietnam War started
  • Cuban Crisis
  • Started manufacturing of water meter for agricultural irrigation system in 1960.
  • Developed T-type gas meter (customized for Tokyo Gas) jointly with M/S Tokyo Gas and started manufacturing in 1964.
  • Developed Self-power generating dry water meter GR-EX type (Electro Magnetic Digital Counter Model) in 1968.

Y1968 : Developed a prepaid gas meter

Prepaid Meter
A drastic change in human lifestyle by rapid growth of economy in the days of 1961 created a need for more compact gas meter. Kimmon developed and released H-type gas meter of which is compact with acceptable accuracy.
Different from ordinal (ordinary?) dial reading which was common at the time, H-type meter adopted the direct-reading counter to prevent the reading men and/or users from misreading the indicated value.
Kimmon Prepaid (Coin or Token) Meter was developed by installing the vendor machine function to H-type meter. The convenience of buying gas with coin received a great response, and consequently, Kimmon Prepaid Meter was set up at places such as hospitals, apartments, etc. one after the other, for temporary residents.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • Introduction of Type Approval System on both water and gas meters in Japan.
  • Third Middle Eastern War broke out.
  • Developed Drip Meter (Mechanical Micro Flow Meter) in 1969.
  • Developed Non-Toxic Liquid Sealed Water Meter in 1969.

Y1970 : Developed the high sensitivity KB-type water meter

High Sensitivity Meter Type KXC by taking full advantage of Truncated Pyramid Nozzle features
Plastic mechanism water meter have been improved more and more.
The ordinary nozzle with circle-shaped hole was replaced by the Truncated Pyramid Nozzle, and it was adapted to the KB type meter, which is regarded as an ultimate water meter in order to enhance smoothness of the wheel rotation.
The Truncated Pyramid Nozzle was developed under the technology alliance with Pop-Mount, Reuters in Germany and introduced to Japan in 1969, and then Kimmon started manufactureing it with reasonable adjustments suitable for Japanese water supply conditions.
The plastic material inside, which is light-weight, made it possible to adopt the Truncated Pyramid Nozzle. It was impossible to adopt this type of nozzle if the inner material was metallic. It took great efforts to commercialize the produce, starting from making a mold, however, the die-cast construction technology of which the second president Onoda brought from Germany led to a successful commercialization.
Continuous effort of performance improvement contributed to many Water Works Bureaus for reduction of Non Revenue Water.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 made the historic first step on the Moon.
  • Developed the remote reading water meter Type-G by using pulse output in 1971.
  • Started manufacturing the rotary piston-type meter Type-OEX in 1971.
  • Developed the hot water meter Type-HWM and HTM in 1972.
  • Developed the remote reading water meter with anti-reverse rotation function Type-GI in 1973.

Y1974 : Developed N-type second version using a folding fan-type valve

Type-N Gas Meter Folding fan-type valve
In 1965, the Japan Gas Association requested Kimmon to develop the multi-function gas meter, connection-type with compatible connection spacing that can be used at any gas company throughout Japan.
The prototype was completed in 1967, and its feature had some unique ideas which satisfied the requirement. Especially, the mechanical error adjustment function to improve accuracy of measurement, which was a breakthrough idea, drew the most attention.
Around that time, the fuel in grid was gradually shifted from the reformulate gas based on coal or naphtha to the natural gas which had almost double calorie compared to the existing gas. This implied that an accurate meter to measure the exact consumption of small flow, required for natural gas, was demanded.
In 1973, Type-N2 was launched as the universal design meter.
Standardization was applied to not only to the compatible connection but also to the functions and parts. For this meter, a lot of unique technologies we developed were adopted. Particularly, the folding fan-shaped valve, which was contained in a compact casing with wide range measurement, was recognized as the best part.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • Watergate Case
  • Oil Crisis

Y1975 : Developed and launched a contact combustion type gas leakage detector named “Canery”

Gas leakage detector “Canery”
Kimmon also developed a gas safety device to prevent accidents or incidents from the gas leakage.
For instance, the gas leakage detector “Canery”, the contact combustion type using platinum wire, was launched as the first detector produced by Kimmon in 1975. As the Gas Detector keeps on evolving, the controller shuts down the valve when the density level, which could cause gas explosion, is detected. This detector has greatly contributed to the safety of users.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • Cup Noodle launched
  • Munchen Orimpic
  • Y1978 : Develop a well water meter to correspond the pumping up regulation
  • Y1980 : Developed the Gas Engine Drive Heat Pump Air Conditioner
  • Y1982 : Developed and launched the Gas Co-generation System

Y1983 : Launched the intelligent city gas meter named “My Safe” integrated with computerized safety function

Intelligent city gas meter “My Safe”
Because of the construction booming and the remarkable progress in the semiconductor field, an intelligent meter was demanded as the integration between accurate measurement and safety function. The first intelligent meter called MICON (Micro Computer) METER-1 was launched in 1983. Its main function was the automatic gas supply shutdown, activated when an earthquake of over level 5 on the Japanese seismic scale occurred. Subsequently, MICON METER-2 was launched as the upgraded model in 1987.
The next model integrated with the communication function would follow shortly for the centralized billing system.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • Terms of effectiveness of gas meter certification was changed from 7 years to 10 years by the Japanese measurement law.
  • LPG Total Management System by using telecommunication network was launched in 1986.

Y1987 : Launched the intelligent LPG meter named “Shutdown Ace”.

Intelligent LPG meter “Shutdown Ace”.
Back in those days, accidents happened often by user’s incaution or operation mistake. After the study by Ministry of International Trade and Industry, it was concluded that using the safety equipment was the most effective solution to minimize accidents, and so MICON-METER had spread and used for LPG as well for city gas.
The meter with the safety function developed for LPG was called “SHUTDOWN ACE” as a term of endearment.
In order to avoid accidents caused by LPG which was being rapidly spread, we set up a consulting room for end users and LPG suppliers to educate them how important the safety function is. Consequently, accidents caused by LPG were drastically reduced.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • First manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin with BOSTOK-A1.
  • President Kennedy's assassination.
  • Developed the packaged gas regulator unit for underground installation in conjunction with M/S Tokyo Gas in 1991.
  • Acquired the license of designated manufacturer for water meter and cumulative calorie meter in 1991.

Y1999 : Launched the lead free copper alloy water meter named “Eco Meter” to fulfill the revised water quality regulation.

Eco Meter
Most of water meters use ordinary brasses containing lead and zinc for their bodies. In 2003, the ministry ordinance tightened up and enforced that leaching lead into water be under 0.01mg/l.
Kimmon was among the first to change the material to lead free copper alloy based on the concept of eco-friendly.
[ Topics during those days ]
  • Space Shuttle Colombia disaster
  • European monetary unification (EUR) established
  • Iraq war

01 Founder's Passion for Manufacturing    03 Consolidation with azbil Group


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