Thoughts on Research & Development

Two Main Focuses: Glass Products and Chemical Products

Central Glass's main business is glass products along with chemical products including fluorine compounds. We deal in many products because we supply fundamental materials to the many kinds of customers such as housing and construction industries, automobiles, electrical equipment, mobile devices, medicine, food products, and so on. It is no exaggeration to say that there is no category of industry in which we are not involved.
In glass products, our R&D efforts aim to achieve high functionality by adding value through Central Glass technologies in energy conservation, security, sound insulation, thermal insulation, etc.
On the other hand, in chemical products it is important to engage in fundamental research to find technologies that match the needs of the market. In contrast to our glass products, where the goals of product development are quite clear and in which commercialization play an important role, chemical product development starts by planning the kind of approach we need to take in order to achieve goals, and we always pursue several different avenues of investigation at the same time. The approach which we thought of at first dose not gives always results in success, and it is not unusual to take 10 or more years until our work takes shape as a commercial product.

Creating Added Value by Fusing Two Technologies

To create new value, we have experimented with ways to blend two domains, "glass" and "chemicals." It has not always proven easy, however, to combine two very different approaches to product development. One of our success stories has been our attempt to create new products that fuse not simply final products, but technical capabilities that evolved in different domains is "PatternKeeperTM (PK Series)."
Combining surface treatment technology that the glass departments have cultivated over many years with the semiconductor mass production technology under clean environment that eliminates nano-scale debris in the chemical departments, Central Glass has developed an innovative semiconductor wafer water-repellent drying liquid that is used in the manufacture of semiconductor devices.
Our sales people listened from our customers, "We have a problem on the semiconductor production line. In the step in which we wash off debris and dry the devices, the semiconductor patterns stick to each other because of capillary phenomenon when we dry off the water." We wondered if we might be able to come up with an agent that dries the devices but not allow patterns to stick. And that is how the PK Series came about.
Actually, we get a lot of requests and inquiries from people who would like us to make this or that product, or for us to help them with a particular problem they have. Particularly since it has become widely known that the original functions of a compound can be improved many times over through the introduction of the fluorine atom, we get lots of people in many industries around the world asking, "Can you make this for us?"
We feel that Central Glass's role is to match the technologies we've cultivated over the years with the various marketplace needs that the folks in our sales and other departments have heard about so that we can provide and implement new solutions.

Voluminous Research Data and Our People Create Products That Keep the User In Mind

Thanks to the development of analytical equipment in recent years, we are now able to make use of past research that we used to be unable to commercialize. This enormous amount of accumulated research data—including our failures—is one of our greatest assets at Central Glass.
More than anything else, it takes information sharing to connect that technology to products and to make sure that the resulting solutions get to the people who need it. One of the most important events on Central Glass's calendar is the Company's "Research Presentations," an annual event attended by everyone from the CEO and directors on down. Additionally, the various headquarters departments exchange information with plants and research centers across Japan. We also hold meetings at which our researchers provide updates on the progress of their work. Sales representatives and researchers also stay in close communication with each other. In particular, many of the people in the sales departments of our fine chemicals business unit came out of our research centers. You could say that one of the defining characteristics of Central Glass is how conversant our people are in technology. Our greatest asset at Central Glass is our human resources, people who truly know how to assess the needs of the market and make the best use of the valuable data we have.

The Accumulation of Small Victories Drives the Creation of Future Technologies

Central Glass is currently going forward with product development on a number of fronts. We are developing chemical products that combine organic synthesis with technology to control asymmetric synthesis through the use of microorganisms. We are developing hybrid resins that are used as sealing materials for powered semiconductors and LEDs. We are also working on next-generation energy products like electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries.
Sometimes it's hard to find the right match between a technology and a particular product, and sometimes it takes more time to commercialize a given technology. But in the end what it really takes is the accumulation of small victories: "The first time we could only make 1 gram, and now we can make 5 grams." This is how we solve problems: By building on small successes, we find a way to create the technologies of the future. We may be a small company, but we're building up our storehouse of data day by day. We are confident that we can find new solutions, new approaches. The possibilities are limitless.

To the top of the page