History of Sodick
Part 1: Founding and Before to Phase of Technical Development &
Remarkable Growth

Genesis (1976 onwards)
The founding of Sodick and the development of the world's first NC EDM

Workers at the Sodick predecessor, MEP

The downturn caused by the oil shock coupled with his differences with the direction of the company's technological development convinced Furukawa to go out on his own, and in August 1976, he founded Sodick Co., Ltd in Midori Ward, Yokohama City. Sodick started with 24 employees.
Shortly after that, a sales office in Osaka was opened. Later, Furukawa expanded his operations until he had established branches and sales offices all over Japan.

At the time, the mainstream EDM market was transitioning from simply drilling holes to 3-dimensional (3D) machining.
3D machining requires more complex machining than simply drilling holes, and this placed a higher workload on the machinist. Consequently, there was a demand for the capacity to provide accurate electrical discharge machining as well as a flexible skill base.
Using conventional machining techniques, each time the process was changed the machine's hardware (ICs, power supply, etc.) had to be switched. This took time and cost money, which did not please customers.
So, after some thought, the development team at Sodick proposed a method that involved changing the software instead of the hardware. This in fact signified the development of EDMs with "NC Units", which allowed machining to be numerically controlled.

But because no one had developed NC units for EDMs, the only way was for Sodick to develop them in-house.
For a company so newly established, this development was really putting the future of Sodick at stake, but spurred by their commitment to always respond to the needs of their customers, they put their reservations aside and forged ahead.

As a result, in December 1976, Sodick delivered the world's first NC die-sinker EDM equipped with a microcomputer. In March of the following year, they completed the GPC Series power supply units for NC die-sinker EDMs, which laid the foundations for the expansion of the business.

Interview with Sodick Chairman and Founder, Toshihiko Furukawa Genesis

Could you tell us a little about the period when you built the NC Units?
Microcomputer using 4-bit microprocessor Microcomputer using 4-bit microprocessor Furukawa At the time, we heard that 4-bit microcomputers were being used to launch artificial satellites. Up until then, everyone had been building their own printed circuit boards, with memory circuits on separate boards according to their application. At that time, we were making memory boards by drilling around 20,000 holes in large substrates and connecting up diodes. We heard rumors that a way to swap various memories around had been found in the United States, so we went to Intel and asked if we could use them, but it was no good.
In the end, we disassembled calculators, used the processors from those and started writing the software.
Normally, people would think that if you didn't have something then you couldn't progress. Didn't you think that way?
Furukawa If your intention is really to do what you want to do, then you can't just simply give up just because you don't have something. One way or another, we wanted to build something that would let us modify the software however we needed. That was because we understood that that was the way to create the technology to increase machining accuracy and further reduce the workload on the machinist.
I imagine the NC EDMs created through that process made your customers pretty happy.
FurukawaYes, I mean, I hope it did. It meant that anyone could produce the same sort of result just by entering a program. Customers embraced the vision too. I think they were also imagining all the things they could do.
I think our customers used our machines thinking that with Sodick’s machines they could realize what they wanted to achieve, trusting us with their own visions.
Origin of the Sodick Company Name The name "Sodick" was created by combining the sounds of the Japanese words for “creativity" (sozo),”action” (jikko) and ”effort” (kuro kokufuku).
It embodies Sodick's total commitment to go to whatever lengths to build the machines that our customers need and to solve their problems, whatever they are. This commitment is still central to Sodick company policy today.