Photo/IllutrationTorches for the Tokyo Olympics are assembled at Shinfuji Burner Co. in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture. (Yoshinori Doi)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

TOYOKAWA, Aichi Prefecture--An outdoor gear company here has deployed technology designed to withstand extreme weather conditions to avoid the embarrassment of seeing the Olympic flame die out during the torch relay around Japan.

Shinfuji Burner Co., which is responsible for the flame and the final assembly process of the relay torches, had no previous experience in such an endeavor, but it was commissioned because of its solid track record in the industry since its foundation in 1978.

Specifically, it is creating the 15-centimeter combustion section of the pink-gold torches that are designed in the image of a cherry blossom for the Tokyo Olympics.

Shinfuji Burner has been producing stoves and lanterns for climbers trying to conquer Mount Everest and other peaks.

The company said it built more than 100 sample torch models before developing one that will remain lit even when exposed to 61.2-kph winds or rainfall of 50 millimeters per hour.

“It would be unforgivable if the flame were to die out during the torch relay,” said Hiroshi Yamamoto, 57, head of Shinfuji Burner’s development department. “I could not afford to relish the challenge and felt only pressure, but I have found the project very rewarding.”

The main characteristic of the torch is that it uses two kinds of fire that appear to be a single flame.

The two thin pipes at the top of the combustion section are each supplied with gas from a cylinder.

One emits a flame generated by gas alone that burns strongly and impressively but is vulnerable to rain and wind. The other flame boasts a bluish color and is produced by combining gas and air.

The blue blaze heats the platinum wire net at the end of the combustion section, making the torch resistant to the elements.

The same type of technology is used in the lamps for mountain climbers.

According to Shinfuji Burner officials, conventional Olympic torches have featured a single type of fire.

“We have succeeded in realizing both exceptional beauty and resistance by using two kinds of fire for two different purposes,” Yamamoto said.

Information on the torch development program was not shared among employees who are not project members. The torch was secretly tested at Shinfuji Burner’s indoor baseball practice field.

Shinfuji Burner is manufacturing more than 10,000 torches for the relay that kicks off in March. Younger employees mainly in their 20s are involved in the assembly.

“We are the anchor in the torch development,” Yamamoto said. “We will certainly pass the baton to the torch relay runners.”