Get ready to say goodbye to staples. Not the office supply chain, those little metal pins we’ve relied on for so long to fasten papers together. Japan is currently undergoing the no-staple revolution thanks to some innovative new products that have surprisingly been around for a long time – stapleless staplers!
The humble beginnings of stapleless staplers go back about 10 years. The concept behind them is actually quite simple. The “stapler” punches a wing-shaped slit on one side and then cuts out a kind of spade-shaped tab which inserts into the slit locking the sheets together.
Initially, they never took off because of two main flaws. First, they could only handle 3 or 4 sheets at a time. Also, they were rather expensive and required more elbow grease than traditional staplers.
It’s believed that office supply giant, Kokuyo was the first to address these issues with their Harinacs band of stapleless staplers in 2009. With an improved blade design, some models of Harinacs were capable of stapling 10 sheets at a time.
More recently, the range of models has increased, with prices ranging from as low as 500 yen (US$6) to 5,000 yen (US$61). Earlier this year, special staplers were released with less resistance for fastening easy enough for children.
With their inherent weaknesses eliminated, there was nothing but benefits to using these revolutionary devices. With no staples money is clearly saved and stacks of paper can be easily recycled. Also, there’s no need for food companies to worry about tiny metal spikes falling into a batch of cookies. They can be safer for the family too, so your child doesn’t end up looking like the guy from Hellraiser.
Most of all you don’t have to reload them at all. No more having to pull back that high tension spring and fumbling with one hand to load the staples which then fall in sideways. Then when you have to pick it out the spring shoots back and pinches your finger and just wanna chuck it out the freakin…
Since then, the market for stapleless staplers swelled considerably. Every stationery company in the nation is racing to develop better and cheaper models and the consumers are enjoying the selection this provides.
Government offices in Japan almost all use these devices exclusively. According to industry estimates, the current market for stapleless staplers is about 30% that of traditional staplers. This skyrocketed from only 10% this time last year.
With Japan in love with these beauties, Kokuyo and its rivals are now racing to be the first to break into foreign markets.
This push to export came last October during the IMF/World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo. Here, delegates from across the world were pleasantly surprised by the economical and environmentally friendly staplers.
So great ready folks. Kiss your staples, and tell them you won’t forget to write because in a few years from now you’ll forget what they looked like. And for those working in the staple industry, don’t worry. They still have their uses in construction and people’s stomachs.
Source: SankeiBiz (Japanese)
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