Research and Development

Research and Development System

Each division of R&D will work together as one with the business groups and divisions to strengthen the vertical threads of our system of product development so that it captures market needs accurately. As the group in charge of strengthening company-wide R&D that crosses organizational boundaries, the Research and Development Group is responsible for integration of intellectual property and management of corporate research, and is working to strengthen the horizontal threads that will contribute to R&D overall.

We will work to create the best products through the fusion of knowledge and technologies based on this strong organization, woven together by these vertical and horizontal threads.

Outline of Laboratories

Functional Chemicals R&D Laboratories

The Functional Chemicals R&D Laboratories develop products that combine our materials with multiple other materials by applying our core technologies in resins, colorants, catalysts, and optical processing. We develop epoxy resins with a high heat resistance, maleimide resins and other distinctive materials that contribute to the realization of Society 5.0—which calls for a 5G information communications society and other such technological advancements. We also look to further our extensive knowledge base in colorant synthesis technologies in the development of colorants for inkjet printers and other feature-led functional color materials as a step towards realizing the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In addition, we are furthering development of high-performance catalysts for manufacturing basic chemicals such as acrylic and methacrylic acids, and we are successively putting them on the market. We are contributing to a society with diverse modes of mobility and safe, comfortable living through the development of products that integrate polarizing film manufacturing technology and colorant synthesis technologies.

Pharmaceuticals Research Laboratories

The Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories are vigorously pursuing R&D on new anti-cancer drugs using small molecule drug development, biotechnology, and polymer synthesis technology. In response to extremely high prices for biomedicines, we have become involved in the development and introduction of biosimilars as the low-cost formulations that society needs, and are taking on the challenge of manufacturing high-quality, high-yield biomedicines. The Pharmaceutical Research Laboratories are also actively involved in development of generic anti-cancer drugs that can meet therapeutic needs.

Research & Development Division(Safety Systems Business)

In the Research & Development Division (Safety Systems Business), we work on development of pyrotechnic devices that use our explosive technologies for various applications in vehicles such disk type inflators (for driver's and passenger seat airbags), cylinder type inflators (for side, curtain, seat cushion, and knee airbags), and micro gas generators for seatbelt pretensioners. We are also building a research and development system to provide lowcost, high quality safety components in a timely manner to customers spread across the globe by combining the safety component technologies from production bases located around the world.

Agrochemicals Laboratories

In the Agrochemicals Laboratories, we launched FINESAVE® in June 2018. This is a new insecticide for fruits and vegetables that we had been working to bring to the market.
We are proposing good uses of FINESAVE® to increase market penetration, searching for new agrochemicals that are safe and easy to use, and actively working to develop unique formulations. We also continue to expand indications for existing products.

Company-wide Coordination and Promotion of R&D

The search for knowledge is also important in R&D for ambidextrous management. The Research & Development Group takes the lead on company-wide activities and works together with universities and start-up companies to actively search for new knowledge. The Research & Development Management Committee is the organization that grapples with company-wide management issues in R&D in general. Of the R&D aimed at creating new products and new businesses, we strategically allocate company-wide business resources to themes that can be expected to turn into major growth businesses in the future and pursue them as corporate research.

Corporate Research

Organi Electronics

Using the technology of functional colorants, we are promoting the development of organic electronic materials that hold promise for flexible device transistors and sensor materials.

Light-controlled Film

We utilize film processing and coating development technologies in development of proprietary light-controlled films that control light (through reflection, absorption, and conversion). We have successfully launched products in the eyewear area and are currently pursuing development for application in automotive heads-up displays (photo).

Drone Safety Components

We are conducting research and development on the PARASAFE® device for drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) applying pyrotechnics safety technology we have cultivated through the development of automotive safety components, and are pursuing development aimed at product commercialization in December 2021.

Voice! —Look Outward and Go Beyond!—

The organizational restructuring of the R&D Planning Division in 2020 stimulated open innovation to generate highly commercializable research themes and created a structure that clarified development goals by strengthening planning and marketing in regard to the themes generated. Both of these initiatives were actively outwardly oriented, and we were able to implement them through exchanges with various industry, academic, and government organizations.

To respond to a rapidly changing future environment, I think it is essential to have an R&D strategy that incorporates corporate venturing (CV), rather than only using the Company's own assets, and we are working to implement that. We are also putting effort into initiatives in materials informatics (MI)* as part of the digital transformation (DX) of research. By using inductive processing of the experimental data we have accumulated thus far in addition to the conventional deductive search for candidate compounds, we can further expand our potential to create highly competitive products. In addition to enhancing the tangible and intangible aspects of engaging in MI, we aim to develop the engineers and establish the organizational structure to accomplish that.

*MI: A method used in research and development on designing the molecular structure of substances that analyzes a voluminous amount of data from experiments and research papers

Daimasa Kubo

Daimasa Kubo
General Manager of R&D Planning Division Research & Development Group

Cross organizational coordination

Meeting of research laboratory heads

A meeting of research laboratory heads is held twice a year, serving as a place to draw on the organizational capabilities of each research laboratory and bring underlying technologies together. These meetings are used to investigate opportunities to implement the successful measures applied in each research laboratory at other research laboratories, and in the development of researchers, while also reviewing the elemental technologies and core technologies used Company-wide, and discussing the appropriate placement of personnel.

Company-wide research presentation meeting

Once a year researchers and engineers from each research laboratory gather to give oral presentations and poster based presentations on the elemental technologies and core technologies held by each research laboratory. The exchanges between researchers working in different fields is used as an opportunity to gain hints toward the creation of new applications for developed items, and invaluable insight provided from an objective point of view.

To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in fiscal 2020 we changed the conventional poster presentations to an online format and at the main venue we held the conference while ensuring masks were worn and social distancing measures were in place. Presentations were given at the conference on subjects such as patents that have contributed to the Company's business and technological development, topics at the R&D divisions, and the best use of AI for R&D activities. All of the presentations produced some lively debate. As well as deepening our understanding of our in-house technologies which have been developed throughout the history of Nippon Kayaku, we will implement and integrate external technologies, accelerating our pursuit of innovation and solutions for tomorrow's social challenges.

Exchange meeting for analytical evaluation technologies

An exchange meeting for analytical evaluation technologies is held once a year as a place for analytical evaluation researchers and engineers who perform analysis and evaluation in different business areas of R&D Group, each research laboratories, and plants to gather for discussion and to exchange opinions, while sharing success stories and issues faced.

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