New Technology Development and Value Creation

Goals and Achievements of Major Initiatives

Objectives of initiatives Goals for fiscal year 2017 Achievements in fiscal year 2017 Evaluation Goals for fiscal year 2018
Enhance ability to develop products and technologies that facilitate contribution to a sustainable society. ・Promote collaboration among DIC Group technical departments.
・Enhance global R&D configuration.
・Encourage open innovation.
・Use IT to enhance the efficiency of R&D.
・The Solid Compound Technical Center–Asia Pacific, in Malaysia, and the Fine Chemical Technical Center–Korea were established. The former oversees solid compound–related R&D in the Asia–Pacific region, while the latter focuses on LC-related technologies.
・Groupwide technical collaboration bolstered achievements in printing inks and polymers, including the development of water-based products, in the PRC, which continues to see a tightening of environmental regulations.
・Active use was made of open innovation and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the speed and efficiency of R&D.
★★ ・Promote collaboration among DIC Group technical departments.
・Strengthen global technological development.
・Make use of open innovation and AI to hasten R&D.
Promote the development of environment-friendly products and services. Accelerate efforts to develop low-carbon and other products that reduce negative impact on the environment. ・Newly developed products included a rice bran oil–based gravure ink and a low-VOC coating resin for use in coated steel.
・Environment-friendly products accounted for 56.0% of overall product sales.
★★ Accelerate efforts to develop low-carbon and other products that reduce negative impact on the environment.
  • Evaluations are based on self-evaluations of current progress. Key: ★★★ = Excellent; ★★ = Satisfactory; ★ = Still needs work

Achieving Sustainable Growth

In line with its Color & Comfort brand slogan, the DIC Group is leveraging its basic technologies, including those in the areas of optics and color, organic molecular design, polymer design and dispersion, as well as its core technologies in such areas as synthesis, compounding and formulation, and surface treatment, to develop high-value-added products that contribute to a sustainable society. The Group is also building a portfolio of next-generation products and new technologies by integrating technological resources originating across the Group, as well as actively promoting open innovation, to drive sustainable growth.

The DIC Group’s Basic/Core and Technologies and Target Markets

Developing Next-Generation Products with Compounding Technologies and through Open Innovation

Specific Initiatives and Achievements

The DIC Group is promoting the development and use of clean technologies. The Company is encouraging a shift toward materials with reduced environmental impact—notably energy-saving, water-based and solvent-free materials, as well as materials for the electronics, automotive, packaging and other industries—that improve the environmental performance of the products in which they are used, which it has positioned as environment-friendly products.

Products for Use in Electronics Equipment

The DIC Group is developing materials that contribute to the reduction of energy consumption by facilitating the downsizing of and the shortening of and reduction of waste in production processes for finished products. In products for LCDs, the Group worked to enhance the performance of its blue pigments for wide color filters, a move that helped bolster sales. The Group also promoted sample shipments of a highly responsive monomer that shortens production processes for polymer sustained alignment (PSA) LCs. In the area of NPS LCs, a proprietary technology, the Group succeeded in significantly improving response speed while at the same time maintaining transmittance comparable to that of PSA LCs. In addition, the Group began providing samples of a new n-type LC material that spontaneously adopts homeotropic alignment, eliminating the need for an alignment layer. In the area of next-generation display materials, DIC continued to promote development of inks for use in the production of inkjet-printed QDCFs for displays in collaboration with Nanosys of the United States. (For details, see "2. Inks for Use in the Production of Inkjet-Printed QDCFs for Power-Efficient Displays" on page 129.) In the area of products for use in electronics materials, the Group developed a naphthalene-based epoxy resin for use in semiconductor packages that has been adopted by fabricators, while in products for printed electronics–related applications the Group commercialized a nanosilver dispersion (particles of silver dispersed in a solution) for metallic foil bonding layers and a polymer adhesive layer material.

Products for Automotive Applications

Newly developed and launched products in Japan included a non-food (waste) rice bran oil–based gravure ink for printing on the surface of food packaging, a high-sensitivity UV ink that meets the requirements for Japan’s Vegetable Oil Ink mark and a white lamination ink for use on refill pouch materials that delivers both high opacity and physical properties. In the area of adhesives for packaging, the Group developed a new product made with vegetable oil–derived materials.
Overseas, the Sun Chemical Group brought a number of new products to market, including a water-based ink system made with vegetable oil–derived raw materials and a series of UV LED inks for printing on films and other packaging materials. The group also proceeded with thev development of a deseaming adhesive for shrink sleeves.

Products for Energy-Related Applications

In the area of battery-related products, the DIC Group launched adhesives for solar battery back sheets in the PRC and India and released a new binder for lithium-ion battery (LiB) separators. In building materials, a new sheet-form passive heat storage material that effectively harnesses solar heat to minimize changes in indoor temperatures was adopted for use by a housing company. The Group is also working to expand applications for this product, including as a heat/cold storage material for the low-temperature transport of pharmaceuticals and other products and in greenhouse agriculture.

A Global R&D Configuration that Underpins Product Development

The DIC Group’s global R&D bases work as one to promote R&D of new technologies and products. DIC’s Technical Management Unit and R&D Management Unit cooperate with the R&D components of DIC Group companies around the world. These include DIC Graphics; the Sun Chemical Group’s research centers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany; Qingdao DIC Finechemicals, which conducts comprehensive R&D tailored to market needs in the PRC; printing inks technical centers (Asia–Pacific region and the PRC;) polymer technical centers (Asia–Pacific region and the PRC;) the Fine Chemical Technical Center–Korea and solid compound technical centers (Asia–Pacific region, the PRC and Germany). In addition, an algae research center in the United States capitalizes on the Group’s accumulated expertise as a producer of Spirulina to conduct comprehensive algae-related research in areas ranging from cultivation to practical application.

The DIC Group’s R&D Configuration

Promoting Environment-Friendly Products >

The DIC Group is committed to effective stewardship of the products it provides. Conscious always of the importance of ensuring its products are environment-friendly, DIC promotes the development of products and new technologies that are useful to society and works to increase the weighting of environment-friendly products in its portfolio, by reducing the volume of hazardous substances it uses, focusing on products that are less hazardous and products that facilitate recycling, and realizing safer production processes that generate less waste and use less energy.

Innovation through Compounding

Building on its fundamental pigment and resin dispersion and formulating technologies, realized through the production of printing inks, DIC has succeeded in combining materials with different properties and performance characteristics to develop groundbreaking products and create new value. Recent achievements in the area of PPS compounds include the development of a new compound that complies with U.S. FDA standards for packaging that comes into direct contact with food products, sample shipments of which have begun in Europe. The Group also commenced sales of a new high-strength, highly thermoresistant compound for use in plumbing-related applications, for which it is also promoting application in automotive cooling components. The DIC Group will continue to harness its distinctive compounding capabilities to transform its diverse technologies into competitive advantages with the aim of driving innovation.

Innovation through Compounding

VOICE

We are addressing the challenge of developing next-generation technologies from the perspective of chemistry.

With the trend toward every-higher levels of miniaturization, the resulting sharp increase in fabrication processes and costs has become a key issue for semiconductor manufacturers. DIC’s Corporate R&D Division recently developed a resin that is appropriate for resists used in nanoimprint lithography (NIL), a technology that shows promise as a next-generation semiconductor fabrication process. With NIL, control of the unique organic–inorganic hybrid compound structure used facilitates rapid curing and superb etching resistance, significantry streamlining fabrication. We will continue to leverage the wealth of technologies we have amassed as a manufacturer of fine chemicals to address next-generation challenges and promote sustainable development.

Assistant Manager, Polymer Technical Group 5, Polymer Technical Division 1 Takeshi Ibe

Assistant Manager,
Polymer Technical Group 5, Polymer Technical Division 1
Takeshi Ibe

Protecting Intellectual Property

Recognizing intellectual property as crucial to competitiveness, the DIC Group vows to respect the intellectual property of other companies. At the same time, guided by an open/closed strategy the Group works to secure intellectual property rights for its own technologies and make use of “black boxing.”
DIC’s efforts to reinforce protection of its intellectual property are also attracting notice outside of the Company. For example, in fiscal year 2017 DIC was sixth in a ranking of companies in the chemicals industry in Japan in terms of patent assets owned conducted by an independent firm*. DIC registers an average of 400 new patents annually. While this is small compared to leading chemicals firms, the Company received a high score for the overall scale of its patent assets, reflecting the quality and high profile of the patents it holds. DIC will continue to actively protect its intellectual property portfolio with the aim of ensuring sustainable growth in the years ahead.

  • *Patent Result Co., Ltd.

TOPICS DIC chairman and employee win awards from the Japan Thermosetting Plastics Industry Association

Mr. Sugie (fourth from the left) and Mr. Arita (second from the left) with other award winners.
Mr. Sugie (fourth from the left) and Mr. Arita (second from the left) with other award winners.

DIC chairman and employee win awards from the Japan Thermosetting Plastics Industry Associationlarge Mr. Sugie (fourth from the left) and Mr. Arita (second from the left) with other award winners. In October 2014, DIC’s chairman, Kazuo Sugie, received a special award and Kazuo Arita, principal researcher in the Chiba Plant’s Polymer Technical Division, received an incentive award from the Japan Thermosetting Plastics Industry Association (JTPIA) at the 38th Japan Thermosetting Plastics Industry Association Awards
JTPIA’s principal focus is “network polymers,” a term that encompasses a broad range of crosslinked polymers. The organization encourages broad-based R&D and discussion on a variety of related topics, including raw materials, processing, analysis and material properties, and environmental technologies. JTPIA also sponsors an annual symposium on network polymer and currently presents awards to recognizing particularly outstanding achievements announced in its academic journal, Network Polymer.
The special award was given to Mr. Sugie, who as former chairman of the aion of his success in controlling the molecular weight of naphthalene ether—the synthesis of which was problematic using existing technologies—and developing a commercially viable naphthalene ether oligomer epoxy resin that combines a high glass transition temperature (thermophysical resistance) and excellent resistance to chemical decomposition caused by heat (thermochemical resistance), properties previously considered incompatible.

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