Research and Development

Topics on Research and Development

We will introduce you to the stories surrounding research and development that we are involved in.

Researching the Needs of Tomorrow: R&D for Organic Semiconductor Materials

Electronics have drastically improved living standards since the 20th century. Today, electronics occupy an indispensable presence in many of the products we use every day, including computers, smartphones and medical equipment. One of the core components of these electronics are inorganic semiconductors.

Nippon Kayaku is researching and developing organic semiconductors as an alternative to inorganic semiconductors. Organic semiconductors can be used in a host of different products (products that bring our live new and greater convenience) because they make it possible to make electronics softer. In addition, organic semiconductors can be printed, making the semiconductor manufacturing process more environmentally friendly and use less energy. Organic semiconductor materials are garnering much attention from academia and industry alike as a material that represents the key to the future of electronics.

Inorganic semiconductor

Inorganic semiconductor

Organic semiconductor

Organic semiconductor

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PARASAFE® - An Emergency Parachute System for Drones

Commercial drones are used in various areas, including logistics, surveying, inspections and rescue operations. Nippon Kayaku has created a parachute system for drones, PARASAFE, through the application of technologies used in the manufacturing of pyrotechnical devices, such as inflators for automotive airbags and gas generators for seatbelt pretensioners. In the even a drone inadvertently plummets while in flight, PARASAFE detects the plummet, activates a pyrotechnical device remotely in order to deploy an emergency parachute, which enables a soft landing. PARASAFE protects the drone, its payload and people on the ground, allowing use of drones in a wide range of areas and situations. In line with the needs of the drone industry, we continue to develop the system for use with various drones with the aim to launch PARASAFE in Japan in FY 2021.

Developing Safety Devices for Drones

Launch of new theme creation project

The development of safety devices for drones was a theme proposed over the course of repeated discussions at off-site meetings and brain-storming sessions, where our young researchers take the initiative in launching projects based on new themes. The technological innovations and development of uses for drones over the past several years has been startling, and drones will probably become widely used throughout society in the future. Looking at the growth possibilities for drones, it occurred to us that we could use explosives technology to come up with a safety device for drones. Because a small amount of explosives is very powerful, we thought that drones’ flight performance could be best enhanced if the device on the drone was small and lightweight.

Teamwork is essential because development and testing involve many components

Teamwork is essential because development and testing involve many components

Technical issues and innovation factors

We used explosives to design a prototype device for opening a parachute. In the event that the drone suddenly starts falling, the safety device will open a parachute to slow the drone’s descent, thus alleviating the impact of a crash landing and protecting any people on the ground. Although explosives are powerful, they are also dangerous and must be handled cautiously, so we took great pains in going through many iterations in our strength design. Also, when mounting it on a drone, the device must be small and extremely light so as not to interfere with the drone’s flight operations. We therefore eliminated all excess space and parts. We mounted the safety devices on drones and took them to an outdoor test field to conduct flight and landing tests and verify their effectiveness.

Drone flight and landing tests are undergone repeatedly out in the field Drone flight and landing tests are undergone repeatedly out in the field

Drone flight and landing tests are undergone repeatedly out in the field

Active use of open innovation

Although Nippon Kayaku possesses a large store of technology regarding explosives and automobile safety components, drones and parachutes were a new frontier for us. We therefore perfected our knowledge of this new frontier with the help of other firms, consultants, and university research labs. In addition, because this is a safety device for landing the drone, we needed a large test field for the actual flight tests. The laboratory borrowed a site at one of Nippon Kayaku’s plants, where it ran repeated tests in which the parachute was deployed after the drone was dropped from a giant crane. This served to improve the reliability of the safety device. In launching this business endeavor, we thought that it was important to tell the market about this concept as soon as possible so that we could get feedback on the device. We are therefore proactively exhibiting at trade fairs and seeking out customers who will use our safety device. Drone development is proceeding very rapidly overseas as well, so we are proactively networking with partner firms overseas. In particular, we obtained a competing product in the U.S., and we are trying to differentiate our product by conducting benchmarking tests with the help of a partner firm. We want to use innovative initiatives like these to contribute to society by producing competitive drone safety devices as soon as possible.

A drop test using a giant crane

A drop test using a giant crane

An outside instructor gives a class on drone mechanisms and system control techniques

An outside instructor gives a class on drone mechanisms and system control techniques

R&D that takes the Nippon Kayaku Group's proprietary technologies to new heights - R&D of light control films

Automobiles are set to undergo a major transformation with advancements in electric vehicles and autonomous driving technologies. A large number of sensors are now fitted to automobiles to support safe driving. One of these is the head-up display that displays various forms of information on the windshield. Head-up displays use special films that control light in order to display this information clearly. Light control technology is used in a very wide range of fields, including not only head-up displays, but also LCD and organic EL displays, projectors, transparent displays, heat shield windows, and sunglasses, to name a few.

Nippon Kayaku is examining the use of the group's light control technologies such as polarizing films and retardation films to develop highly advanced and specialized light control films as one of its corporate research themes. For example, in collaboration with Group companies, we are promoting the development of applications for automotive head-up displays using our unique technology that makes images clear in wide viewing angles.

Head-up displays

Using Informatics for R&D

Drug discovery informatics and materials informatics which incorporate data science methods into their research and development, have been widely reported in recent years and are attracting attention. Nippon Kayaku has also begun efforts to utilize informatics as a technology that can be widely applied in each area of its business.

We will continue to create an environment where initiatives can be easily taken up, as well as improve literacy and acquire knowledge through lectures and seminars inside and outside the Company, and build an in-house network for the purpose of establishing and learning about technology.

Nippon Kayaku's research and development aims to further promote and improve efficiency by focusing on digitization of information and data analysis in addition to conventional methods based on hypotheses.

Using Informatics for R & D

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