KHK USA Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kohara Gear Industry of Kawaguchi, Japan. Founded as Kohara Haguruma Factory in 1935, the company, under the leadership of its founder Tomizo Kohara, developed from a single lathe machine to that of a world-renowned gear manufacturer. After supplying materials to the Japanese government during the second World War, Kohara realized that there was a need for replacement gears for lathe machines, and in 1954, began in earnest to be the supplier that Japanese industrials could turn to for stock gears. In 1973, the company trademarked the brand name “KHK” and began to sell its gears internationally.
Always a forward-thinking organization, in 1996, Kohara Gear Industry was the first Japanese stock gear company to seek and obtain ISO:9000 certification. Kohara introduced his family to the business, and all three of his sons took leadership roles within the organization. In the early 2000s, the third generation of Koharas took leadership of the company when Tomizo’s grandson Toshiharu Kohara became CEO and president of Kohara Gear Industry. Since then, Kohara Gear Industry has obtained ISO:14000 certification, has completely modernized its Kawaguchi headquarters and factory to meet the latest seismic codes, and has expanded its Noda factory to three buildings. It has also introduced the concept of Haguruma-Kobo (a concept of using existing stock gears to produce pre-planned custom modifications on demand), and has reconfigured all of the products offered such that all KHK gears are RoHS compliant.
In 2015, Kohara Gear Industry decided that in order to grow within North America, it needed a direct sales team. This team is KHK USA Inc. based in Mineola, New York, as the factory-direct, stocking distributor of KHK gears. KHK USA Inc. stocks approximately 4,500 of the 15,000 SKUs produced by Kohara Gear and has an engineering team on-site with over 25 years of gearing experience.
Kohara Gear Industry has approximately 215 employees throughout Japan. KHK USA has three employees based in a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in its New York location. The export division of Kohara Gear services 23 distributors worldwide including KHK USA, which covers all of North America.
KHK USA seeks to meet the needs of the industrial automation designer. It offers one of the largest selections of metric-dimensioned power transmission gearing in North America. Its products are used in gantry systems, packaging equipment, gearboxes, and almost anywhere that motion needs to be provided in an industrial environment.
KHK USA offers a broad selection of stock metric gearing components and over 175 different styles of gears including stock metric spur gears; helical gears; internal ring gears; gear racks; straight and spiral tooth miter gears; straight, spiral, hypoid, and Zerol bevel gears; screw gears; worms and wormwheels; ratchets and pawls; gear couplings; involute spline shafts and bushings; and right-angle gearboxes.
Using the Haguruma-Kobo concept, KHK USA is able to offer over 15,000 configurations of gearing either from stock or within three business days. It offers gears with minimum plain bore for custom configuration and finished gears with keyways, hardened teeth, and tapped holes. To assist the design engineer, KHK USA also offers downloadable 3D CAD models of each product.
“Our expedited service gets the product to our customers within three business days for the same price as overnighting the shipment from our U.S.-based warehouse,” said Brian Dengel, general manager for KHK USA.
Kohara Gear Industry owns two Gleason Phoenix 275 Coniflex generators, a Gleason Phoenix 275 bevel grinder, multiple automated Gleason 104 Coniflex generators, CNC rack milling machines, CNC rack grinding machines, multiple Mazak CNC turning centers, and multiple Okuma 4-axis turning centers.
Kohara Gear marks all of its stock gears with the identifying logo “KHK” and the part number, typically being engraved on the hub diameter. Another unique characteristic of Kohara Gear products is that all carbon steel products are black-oxide coated. Kohara Gear performs all of its induction hardening in-house, but outsources any case hardening.
According to Dengel, what sets KHK USA apart in the industry are its three core assets: quality, availability, and offering metric-dimensioned products.
“In the U.S. marketplace, we see a challenge of a slow roll-out of metrification from the U.S.,” said Dengel. “AGMA is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and the U.S. gear industry is still predominantly inch-dimensioned. The process of globalization has finally started to take root in the U.S. as most multinationals are now designing in metric, but the U.S. is the only country in the entire world that is not metric.”
For these companies that build in the U.S. and export worldwide, or import equipment to the U.S. that is produced elsewhere, metric gearing is becoming more prevalent in their designs.
“With our broad selection of products, our vast expertise in production, and our world-renowned quality, KHK is poised to capture this demand,” Dengel said.