Led by the Research and Development Division, the whole Kuraray Group works together to achieve our corporate R&D mission, which is to 1) Create new businesses, 2) Strengthen and expand existing businesses, and 3) Establish and deepen core technologies.
Under “PASSION 2026,” while carrying on existing approaches, we will coordinate with the INC to promote marketing activities for items under development worldwide as well as seek to accelerate innovation by incorporating new foundational platforms through R&D pursued under a backcasting process.
- Innovation Networking Center
- Research and Development Division
Kurashiki Research Center
Synthesis Research Laboratory, Polymer Research Laboratory, Analytical Technology and Solutions Laboratory, Environment and Energy Research Laboratory, Cross Technology Research Group
Tsukuba Research Center
Polymer Materials Research Laboratory, Polymer Processing Research Laboratory
- Intellectual Property Department
- Planning and Administration Department
- KAI Corporate R&D
- Kurashiki Research Center
- IP Management Center
- Business divisions
- Research and Development Department
Innovation Networking Center (INC)
The most important objective of the INC is to generate innovation by integrating internal and external resources.
To empower individual divisions and customers to take the initiative in generating ongoing innovation, the Center plays the role of accelerator in the Kuraray Group’s innovation efforts, promoting activities involving the participation of all corporate divisions and employees. We have adopted an ambassador system for the Center, whereby around two dozen core members from diverse backgrounds are collaborating globally in digital venues with over 50 ambassadors representing various Group organizations.
By leveraging the Kuraray Group’s resources on a global scale, from its diverse human resources in Japan and overseas and its unique technical capabilities to the customer relationships and market approaches it has cultivated over the years, we will continue to create new business opportunities over the longer term.
Research and Development Division
Central to realizing the Kuraray Group’s vision as a Specialty Chemical Company achieving sustained growth is the Research and Development Division, the main thrust of our corporate R&D and new business development activities. The Research and Development Division manages the Kurashiki Research Center, Tsukuba Research Center, Intellectual Property Department, and Planning and Administration Department.
Kurashiki Research Center
With a foundation in organic synthesis and synthetic polymer technologies, catalytic chemistry, Polymer Research Laboratory and environment and energy technology, the Kurashiki Research Center focuses on R&D of new businesses, products and technologies. As the analysis hub of the Kuraray Group, it also conducts global efforts to solve technical issues using analytical and safety evaluation technologies.
- 1. Establishment
- The history of the Kurashiki Research Center began in July 1968 with the establishment of the Central Research Laboratory. At the time, Japanese manufacturers were beginning to establish central research laboratories one after another. Later, there were splits, integrations and transfers as the facility’s role gradually changed with the needs of the times, and in September 2012, it was reorganized into the Kurashiki Research Center, which comprises four research laboratories (for research of synthesis, polymers, analytical technology and solutions, and environment and energy).
- 2. Characteristics
- The Kurashiki Research Center adds new technologies to build on our base of synthesis technologies (organic, polymer and inorganic) accumulated in processes such as the industrialization of isoprene-related products and PVA fiber, the pioneer of synthetic fibers in Japan; catalyst technologies; VA-related polymer technologies; polymer composite technologies; carbon material technologies; and analytical technologies. It also conducts R&D of cutting-edge, novel products and serves as the Kuraray Group’s analysis hub in growth markets such as the environmental, energy, electronics and optics fields.
- 3. Research Content
- Synthesis Research Laboratory
- Using catalysts, precision organic synthesis technology and polymerization technology, this laboratory develops new gas barrier materials, high-performance elastomer materials and other products.
- Polymer Research Laboratory
- Focusing on materials and technologies related to vinyl acetate (VA), Kuraray’s core business, this laboratory looks a step ahead by exploring new developments in polymer related materials.
- Analytical Technology and Solutions Laboratory
- Through analytical technologies, this laboratory provides solutions to technical issues that arise in the Kuraray Group’s production, sales and development departments.
- Environment and Energy Research Laboratory
- This laboratory conducts research and development related to environment and energy, and works together with the Environmental Solutions Division to create new businesses in the environmental and energy fields, which are growing markets.
- Cross Technology Research Group
- We aim to create new businesses and expand existing businesses by exploring areas of research that go beyond the scope of a single laboratory and by pursuing research across multiple laboratories.
Tsukuba Research Center
The Tsukuba Research Center applies its core technical strengths in precision polymerization and denaturation, molding, polymer processing and computational chemistry to develop new businesses, products and technologies.
- 1. Establishment
- Taking advantage of its location in relation to the Head Office, Niigata Plant and Kashima Plant, the Tsukuba Research Center is our R&D base in eastern Japan. Operations are vertically integrated from basic research on polymer materials and polymer processing to product development close to customers. It originated as the Kuraray Tsukuba Research Laboratories, which was established in April 1994 on the site of World Expo 1985. In 2009, it was renamed the Tsukuba Research Center and established two laboratories (Polymer Materials and Polymer Processing) under the Research and Development Division that create and nurture the seeds of future businesses. In addition, development staff from the Methacrylate Division, Genestar Division, Elastomer Division and other divisions have been assigned to the Tsukuba Research Center, where they are all conducting research under the same roof.
- 2. Characteristics
- The Tsukuba Research Center conducts research and development related to new polymer materials, including acrylic polymers and isoprene polymers, and polymer molding based on composite technology and precision processing technology. Its goal is to create new business in growth markets.
- It also functions as the development base for business divisions, and further promotes research and development through information sharing and exchanges with business divisions, the Technology Development Center of the Technology Division, and various other units. Its location in Tsukuba Science City facilitates technological and information exchanges, and its researchers have direct connections to domestic and international markets, making this a research center that is highly sensitive to market needs.
- 3. Research Content
- Polymer Materials Research Laboratory
- This laboratory researches synthesis and application of methacrylic and isoprene specialty polymers based on polymerization technologies, and conducts research and development aimed at enhancing the functionality.
- Polymer Processing Research Laboratory
- This laboratory studies ways to enhance the value of products through the creation of functional films such as decorative films centering on double layering, as well as processing technologies. It also considers and practices analysis and simulations with a focus that is not just within the laboratory, but also supports development across the Kuraray Group.
- Business divisions take advantage of this location to conduct activities such as new grade development and customer service, according to their respective situations.
Intellectual Property Department
Kuraray has made respect for intellectual property1 a fundamental principle. Since fiscal 2003, Kuraray’s Intellectual Property Department has been engaged in the creation, protection, and use of intellectual property based on a three-in-one strategy encompassing business, R&D and intellectual property. Its objective is to strengthen and accelerate business and R&D in line with the Kuraray Group’s management strategy.
Specifically, the department proposes business and R&D strategies while seeking to minimize business risk, and monitors the patent portfolio2 (PPF) and patent clearance3 (PC) for the entire company.
As one measure to strengthen its infrastructure for invention, Kuraray has established and is expanding a patent indemnity and incentive award system to increase incentives for researchers to make new discoveries.
- Intangible inventions, ideas, concepts, and goodwill protected under patent laws, the Utility Model Law, the Trademark Law, the Design Law, or copyright laws
- Compares and analyzes the patent portfolios of Kuraray and other companies with regard to specified fields and products, for the purposes of:
- Evaluating the technological characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses of intellectual property
- Proposing various strategies (establishing R&D themes, evaluating commercialization potential, developing business, planning for patent applications)
- Clarifying matters pertaining to patent rights for technologies that Kuraray plans to use and the patent portfolios of other companies, as well as evaluating business and R&D methodology.
- Reducing commercialization risks by proposing and implementing measures to eliminate or avoid problems in obtaining patent license agreements.
Planning and Administration Department
As the strategic department of the Research and Development Division, this department conducts comprehensive planning, promotion, adjustment and administration for the division overall, and helps to ensure that R&D matches business strategy and leads to success. Its work encompasses creation of new businesses and strengthening and expansion of existing businesses; planning and coordination of collaboration with outside partners; optimal resource allocation and human resource development for corporate research; division management; management of R&D themes under the control of the division; and ensuring safety.
KAI Corporate R&D
KAI Corporate R&D assigns employees to the Kuraray Research and Technical Center (KRTC), our U.S. development base located in Houston, Texas. It provides support for businesses and production and development bases in the United States, cooperates with research centers in Japan, and promotes collaboration with local universities for new business development.
Employees are also assigned to Silicon Valley in California to scout startups that are using local venture capital.
IP Management Center
The IP Management Center established in January 2022 will work not only to support the IP strategies of each business division, but will also formulate and implement a globally integrated IP strategy. In this way, we will implement IP activities that go beyond the former strategy, focused on securing rights, to include business development activities.
R&D Units under the Direct Control of Business Divisions
These units work to expand business by boosting efficiency in R&D and technical service related to the products of each division. They also make product improvements according to customer requests, and further evolve the technologies that are fundamental to each division’s business continuity.
|Improvement of Product Competitiveness||
|Advantageous Management of Intellectual Property||