IHI Corporation

Eaton cylinders are aiding in flood control along Japan’s Shinano River

Twenty custom Eaton cylinders are at work opening and closing large barrage gates, which control and regulate water levels, prevent flooding and support critical irrigation infrastructure for agriculture.


Eaton® hydraulic cylinders are hard at work in one of Japan’s largest flood-control projects on the Shinano River that flows from Nagano to Niigata in Northern Japan.

IHI Corporation of Japan, the country’s leading manufacturer of gates for rivers and dams, contracted Eaton to support the project by supplying 12 large-bore XL Series cylinders and eight mid-size cylinders. The custom cylinders open and close large barrage gates, which control and regulate water levels, prevent flooding and support critical irrigation infrastructure for agriculture.

Requiring three years to complete, the high-profile barrage project was officially commissioned by the Japanese government in August 2011.


In the past, IHI relied on competitive largebore cylinders for its civil engineering projects. Although it regarded Eaton as a valid cylinder source, IHI was not familiar with Eaton’s strong
system support strengths.

“Our mission was to aggressively affirm Eaton’s capabilities in custom cylinder supply, as well as our system and servicing strengths that are actively at work around the world,” said Noriyuki Kimata, general manager of Eaton in Japan.

Introductions and information sharing began at local trade shows, where Eaton sales personnel learned that IHI would be opening up bids for hydraulic cylinders needed for the Shinano River project. Team members met with IHI representatives in follow-updiscussions to reinforce the fact that Eaton offers virtually all the hydraulic system components used in the industry and has been a key player in global infrastructure upgrade projects, such as the Panama Canal, South Korea Saemangeum Dam, Europe’s Danube River and Emsworth Locks and Dams near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Eaton team went to work building a proposal, backed by Eaton’s global management team, that covered every aspect of turnkey cylinder supply— from full-service engineering to jobsite product support. The team emphasized the coordinated custom cylinder strengths of Eaton’s Eindhoven, Netherlands, and Decatur, Alabama, facilities by providing detailed engineering drawings of customized cylinders that would meet the project’s requirements—8,550- and 8,900-mm (337- and 350-inch) strokes, 310- and 260-mm (12.2- and 10.2-inch) diameter rods and 210-bar (3,000-psi) operating pressures using ISO VG22 hydraulic fluid. Extensive documentation was provided on Eaton’s Hypos position sensor, a precise measurement system integrated into the cylinder, and its robust Application-Based Coating P2 that provides an added layer of anti-corrosion and anti-wear protection in harsh environments.

The team went on to address how Eaton product managers would work alongside the IHI team to ensure systems reliability and on-time delivery and how Eaton field services would be at the ready to provide operational and maintenance assistance.

Also included in the proposal was how total quality management principles and systems enable Eaton to ensure continuous improvement in its products, processes, operational metrics and customer satisfaction.


Once all the cylinder bids were in, IHI went about the task of assigning a technical score to each bidding company. Eaton received the highest score, due in part to its timely response and total project support.

“IHI’s business is a major win for Eaton and a significant breakthrough against tough global competition that has had the market share of the large-bore cylinder business in Japan’s civil construction industry,” Kimata said.

“We have taken a major step forward in the civil construction arena by focusing on hydraulic product and engineered solution needs on hydropower, dam and water irrigation projects. As a result, we are gaining more and more opportunities to demonstrate our strong capabilities in this focus market, as well as provide high-value referrals when bidding on other infrastructure projects in Japan and around the world.”