KOKUYO's Historical Episode
Examples of Harinacs, the staple-free stapler
Clockwise, from left: a desktop 12-sheet Harinacs, a hand-held type, a 2-hole type, and a compact Harinacs
Being green goes without saying. Our aim is to create added value that goes even further
A stapler is the classic device for stapling sheets of paper together (see Note 1). Although KOKUYO had for quite some time been seeking a new method to replace the standard type of stapler which uses conventional metal staples, they couldn't quite manage to produce a commercially viable product. Moreover, although one alternative approach in the form of a "staple-free stapler" had already been commercially produced by another company, it could only staple together a small number of sheets and they didn't hold very well, so attracted little market attention. That said, given the climate in which energy conservation and green policies were being called for, its non-use of staples was highly attractive. In 2007, KOKUYO mobilized the whole company in launching its movement to totally eliminate all products bearing the Eco X-symbol, and the development team in charge devoted more effort than ever before to carrying out surveys, research and development. With green measures being taken as read, they wanted to create a product that was also efficient and fun to use, or more specifically, their theme was "green, fun and easy" – a green approach that could continue without being patient, and that was easy and fun. So it was that the Harinacs stapler appeared in 2009.
Listening to customer feedback, and making things which are useful in society.
The stapler makes two incisions in the
paper, folds them back, then staples the
The objective that we set ourselves at the development stage was to create a product that was green, but had something more to offer. Of course, the very fact that it didn't have staples meant that it scored well in terms of saving resources, but work efficiency would also be improved as there was no need to dispose of waste separately. By stapling the paper using two holes, we resolved the problem experienced with conventional products, of the stapled sheets not holding well. Furthermore, we devised a functional system, so that the two holes the Harinacs made would allow the sheets to also be kept in a ring binder. This meant the product was a kind of cross between a stapler and a hole-punch. Another drawback that we tackled was the limit on how many sheets could be stapled together at one time. By adapting and improving the design of the blade that makes the holes, we have produced a staple-free stapler that can staple 10 sheets together – the largest amount in the stationery industry. So much for the genesis of the product; as soon as the Harinacs (2-hole type) was launched, it became a very popular and successful product. About six months later, the company announced the arrival of a compact, hand-held version of the Harinacs (1-hole type), which was developed in parallel with the 2-hole type. However, based on the reaction of customers at a trade fair, at which the 2-type version was unveiled, some parts of it underwent a major design change. This involved incorporating a transparent "viewing window" in the design so that the hole the stapler made could be seen, because many customers at the trade fair had enjoyed looking at the stapling mechanism. This is one of the results of listening carefully to customer feedback and striving to create a sense of fun from using a product. One of the factors behind the success of Harinacs lies in the way we focused so thoroughly on those extra qualities besides the product's green credentials – its efficiency, functionality, and sense of fun. However, the product is also highly regarded in terms of the safety and peace of mind it gives (see Note 2). In order to develop the Harinacs into a standard item of filing stationery that will replace the conventional stapler, the development team is moving forward with its plans to make it one of a family of products.
Note 1: As is widely known, the word "Hotchkiss" [as conventional staplers are referred to in Japan] comes from the time when staplers were first sold in Japan. Back then, "Hotchkiss" was the brand name, and because it was widely used, it came to be the generic term for all staplers. The term used in JIS standards is "stapler." Although the current stapler, which drives a pin shaped like a 'U' through 2 or more sheets of paper and then bends both ends to staple the sheets together, first appeared in the 19th century, it's said that the machine taken to be its prototype was already in existence by the 16th century.
Note 2: For example, we have received positive feedback from a company that deals with food products, saying they are happy not to have to worry about foreign objects (staples) getting mixed in with the food, and we have also heard from facilities that look after young children and the elderly – in their case, they have peace of mind from the fact that there is no danger of accidentally swallowing staples, or sustaining injuries from them. We have also had feedback to the effect that because there's no worry of accidental swallowing, pet owners find Harinacs convenient for stapling paper used to prevent dirt/mess.