R&D R&D Policy and System
Business domains of interest
We will respond to social needs in the areas of health; safety and security; convenience and comfort; and the environment by using a wide variety of technologies and a wide range of product groups. In this effort, we will utilize our strengths, which include our mechanisms for utilizing our expertise through artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). We anticipate increasing demand for more advanced next-generation electronic materials arising from the extension of life expectancy, the accompanying growing interest in quality-of-life issues, and the ongoing digital transformation and adoption of IoT. Consequently, we intend to create value in business sectors that can benefit from our strengths in the areas of medicine, healthcare, and smart technologies.
Our customer-focused approach: Comprehensively addressing societal issues and customer requirements
We will address societal issues and customer requirements, identify potential needs, and provide advanced technologies combined with our knowledge of various industries to solve problems. Even if an issue is too difficult to be solved by our company alone, we will not give up easily; instead, we will work with the will to solve the problem even if it is solely for the benefit of the customer, and even if it requires using the products, technologies, and expertise of another company. Our R&D always starts with the identification of the future needs of our customers and society at large. By growing together and solving the problems of our customers and all of society, we are transitioning into a company that identifies and tackles the most difficult challenges.
Free Translation of Functions: discovering latent applications for existing products
Daicel describes its process of redefining the essential functions of a product to open up new markets and create new businesses as a “free translation of functions.” One example is the air bag inflator for automobiles. Its essential function can be defined as a system for safely, securely, and instantly generating a single burst of optimum energy (One-Time Energy). One product inspired by this free translation is Actranza™ lab, a needle-free drug distribution device that does not require needles. We also applied the essential functions of One-Time Energy and developed the Pyro-fuse, which is mounted on electric vehicles and shuts down power in an emergency. Free translation of functions will enable us to discover new market needs we can meet with our technology and to promote new business creation based on the Daicel Group's lineage.
Strengthening our business by proactively adopting initiatives related to intellectual property: refining our expertise in the IP landscape
Looking ahead to our global future, we are proactively developing intellectual property initiatives to strengthen our business. We actively employ our intellectual property in order to maintain our market superiority while acquiring core technologies that help promote our business development. Since 2019, we have been implementing an IP landscape that enables us to identify new business themes and establish new business models. We have achieved this through analysis and visualization of varied sources of information from a bird's-eye view - such as intellectual property information and market information - while also analyzing and predicting key processes and technologies.
Accelerating business development by strengthening collaboration encompassing research, development, and intellectual property initiatives
In order to create value that contributes to greater affluence, we are emphasizing the functional independence of research and development in order to both expand our research findings and strengthen commercialization. In order to contribute to the emergence of a society committed to recycling, we will expand the scope of our research by developing innovations from the customer's perspective, focusing our development targets, and identifying those likely to achieve commercialization. In addition, we will maximize our proven strengths in developing new businesses through our proactive approach to intellectual property initiatives.
Digging deeper into future-oriented research with a long-term perspective
In order to link the products and technologies owned by the company with the needs of our customers and society at large, we use our own personnel as well as external experts and others hired from outside the company to conduct research and identify needs from a novel perspective. Specifically, we plan and undertake basic research on future technologies, such as technology for converting to new biomass materials through an environmentally-friendly next-generation chemical conversion process aimed at contributing to a society committed to recycling. While conducting a number of joint research projects with universities and other organizations, we look five or ten years ahead as a means of exploring new possibilities. We employ the results of this research in our development and business divisions.
Addressing functions in the search for business opportunities as well as business planning, development, and commercialization in an integrated manner
Innovation and Business Development Headquarters
We create businesses that provide value in our core business domain in support of our long-term vision. In order to accelerate this trend, we actively communicate with our related strategic business units (SBUs) and group companies to identify needs through customer-focused initiatives that are closely linked to customers. In addition, our Analysis Service Center within the Innovation and Business Development Headquarters consolidates the assessment technologies cultivated to date in a wide range of fields and promptly responds to requests from within the Group. In addition to undertaking analysis, evaluation, and expanded cultivation centered on conventional elemental technologies, it is responsible for promoting commercialization.
Incorporating the Biomass Value Chain Concept by Adopting Open Innovation
Biomass Innovation Center
The Biomass Innovation Center is focused on developing the technologies for creating high-performance, high-value-added products from surplus biomass obtained from Japan’s rich forest resources and agricultural waste. Working in collaboration with local primary industries, the Center is adopting these environment-friendly processes and technologies in an effort to incorporate the Biomass Value Chain Concept to develop a co-creation value chain. In 2023, we collaborated with Kanazawa University to establish the Biomass Green Innovation Center as a research and development hub on the campus of Kanazawa University. This initiative is intended to pursue open innovation through co-creation among researchers spanning industry, government, and academia. Our goal is to contribute to the emergence of a society committed to recycling by developing rare metal adsorbents and plastic products derived from biomass materials such as cellulose. At the same time, we are working on the social implementation of a technology to melt wood under normal conditions.
Combining Technologies to Create Next-generation Breakthroughs
Advanced Materials & Packaging Institute
In response to the increasingly sophisticated demand for development of functional innovations, we have focused on inorganic/organic composite materials and are engaging in a wide range of activities from exploration and basic research to applied research and development based on customer needs. We are achieving this not only in-house but also through collaboration with universities and manufacturers that possess relevant elemental technologies. In particular, we are promoting materials and functional design through evaluations of implementations in an effort to develop next-generation power devices and materials required for the next-generation 6G communication standard, which is expected to grow significantly in the future. By promoting early implementation among the public, we are contributing to the emergence of a society committed to sustainability.
Providing strong support for each field of specialization, from basic research to commercialization
Production Management Headquarters (Production Technology Center)
When developing new businesses, it is necessary to create products with the functions that customers want through a rational and sustainable process. Working in collaboration with researchers at the initial stage of development, we support the establishment of industrialization technology and process control technology. As professionals in the manufacturing technology sector, we work with an eye toward mass production by pursuing rational manufacturing processes that take cost and quality into consideration while making full use of simulation technology. Furthermore, by clarifying necessary elemental technologies from a new angle without being bound by convention, and by pursuing and implementing the ultimate process that simultaneously satisfies cost, quality, and energy conservation targets, we are building a sustainable manufacturing system that is friendly to both customers and the planet. This is how we are accelerating the businesses development.
The equipment required for making things is an important asset that is indispensable in our corporate operations. As professionals in this area, we are actively involved from an early stage of development and strongly support the establishment of production technology for new products. With our many years of experience and the expertise we have accumulated, we are contributing to rapid business development with professional judgment and active communication.
Intellectual Property Center
We are actively exploiting the value of the intellectual property rights (patent rights, utility model rights, trademark rights, design rights, etc.) held by the company to drive innovation that leads to new business development and enhancement of Daicel's brand power. In each specific R&D theme and business planning theme, we play a role in business decision-making while working in close coordination with related departments.
R&D System (From basic research to commercialization and positioning of each department)]
Innovation Park (iPark), Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture
We are rapidly creating new businesses and strengthening existing businesses by fusing our R&D, which is responsible for functional design, material design, and evaluation, to our production technology and engineering, which are responsible for process design, equipment design, and simulation. We have adopted an unassigned office approach that allow engineers engaged in research and development, production technology, engineering, environment, and safety, as well as those in charge of planning, marketing, and intellectual property, to work with the flexibility needed in specific situations. Moreover, our laboratories are divided by function rather than by department, which tends to accelerate research and development. Moreover, we maintain a clean room and an open laboratory equipped with a multifunctional laboratory capable of handling synthesis, distillation, analysis, evaluation, and other tasks. We undertake research and development together with customers both inside and outside Japan.
- Utilization of simulation technology
- Virtual Lab
This is a new mechanism for identifying issues from the R&D stage to the production stage using simulation technology and deriving the optimal method. By utilizing our virtual lab as an alternative tool for experiments from the initial design phase, the time required for design is reduced and development costs are minimized.
- Materials Informatics (MI)
By combining enormous amounts of data and knowledge through simulations, we can design materials through a molecular approach to satisfy an intended purpose. We are accelerating research and development while utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies.
- Virtual Lab
- Encouraging communication with a flexible workstyle
Plants in Japan
In addition to conducting research intended to improve functions, we conduct functional evaluations and pilot developments for industrialization at research facilities and pilot plants provided in the factory.