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Since our founding, the Hitachi Group has actively pursued R&D to fulfill the Corporate Credo of contributing to society through the development of superior, original technology and products. This continuous innovation with R&D as its core, is the driving force of sustainable growth for the Hitachi Group.
Investment in the Social Innovation Business
The Hitachi Group invests 670 billion yen, which is approximately 60% of the total R&D expenditure for FY 2010-2012, for R&D in Social Innovation Business areas to accelerate R&D promoting growth in the global market for this business area. In April 2011, the R&D structure was reformed for the first time in 25 years. Locally led research was expanded by increasing the number of researchers employed in the four research hubs outside Japan, while consolidating the eight research laboratories in Japan into three. Under this new structure, technology developments supporting global Social Innovation Business will be accelerated, and measures put in place to increase R&D efficiency. Further, the Technology Strategy Office was established within the Research and Development Group to oversee Group-wide technology strategies and to formulate medium-to-long-term technological and development plans linked with business strategies.
The R&D expenditure of the Hitachi Group is being maintained at around 4 percent of total revenue. For R&D investment efficiency, the target is to deliver an ROI*1 (operating income divided by R&D expenditure) of greater than 1.0. The number of papers accepted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world's largest professional technology association, is used as one benchmark for measuring Group technology standards and activities worldwide. In fiscal 2011, the IEEE adopted 41 research papers from the Hitachi Group, ranking us third in the electronics industry worldwide and first in the electronics industry in Japan.
The research and development structure of Hitachi, Ltd. includes the Technology Strategy Office, the Central Research Laboratory, the Hitachi Research Laboratory, the Yokohama Research Laboratory, the Design Division, and five research bases outside Japan. The Technology Strategy Office prepares medium-to-long-term technology and development plans linking corporate research centers and business divisions in order to accelerate expansion in areas of business priority. By proposing Hitachi-wide strategic projects, the Office formulates technology strategies to achieve Hitachi management policies.
In 2011, approximately 150 research staff were employed in centers outside of Japan but this number will be doubled by fiscal 2012. Further, the policy of localization will be thoroughly pursued by raising the proportion of locally-employed R&D staff in overseas centers to over 90 percent with a target of more than 30 percent doctoral degree holders, increasing collaborations with government, business, and research institutions in the region while pursuing locally-initiated R&D based on specific regional needs. Emphasis will be research themes centering on Social Innovation Business being promoted in each of the five global bases.
R&D Organization of Hitachi, Ltd.
At Hitachi, Ltd., 70 percent of R&D expenditure is for Sponsored and Advanced sponsored research from Hitachi in-house companies and Hitachi Group companies, and the remaining 30 percent is for Basic and platform research from corporate funds. Sponsored and Advanced sponsored research have the goal of expanding priority businesses, and target practical application within three to five years. Basic and platform research is based on the mid-to-long-term Technology Plan, and aims to create innovative technologies forming the base for future core businesses.
Hitachi India R&D Centre
The Hitachi India R&D Centre (HIL) was established in Bangalore Karnataka, India, as Hitachi's first research and development base in India. Its role is to help expand Hitachi business to more effectively serve the needs of the swiftly growing Indian economy.
Researchers are helping Hitachi Group companies enter and expand the market in India by studying local market requirements while promoting market-oriented technological R&D that improves existing products. They also carry out locally-oriented research to pioneer new business areas. The Centre will conduct research in collaboration with Indian universities and companies to ensure more effective advanced research. The Centre started with 10 researchers, but the number will be doubled by fiscal 2015 through local hiring to contribute to business expansion and cultivation in India.
Vice President and General Manager,
Management & Planning Department,
Hitachi (China) Research and Development Corporation (HCR&D)
With "globalization of business" as a key phrase in Hitachi's management strategy, R&D staff in overseas research centers are being increased and R&D based on local needs is being promoted. The anticipated role of HCR&D is to identify specific market-based needs in China and engage, as the Group's Chinese R&D unit, in R&D that matches those needs. The 12th Five-Year Plan announced by the Chinese government in fiscal 2011, clearly identifies the promotion of urbanization, stimulating development in priority regions, and the strategic promotion of development in emerging industries. This Plan anticipates expansion of needs in upgrading urban infrastructure such as power systems, transportation and water supplies, applying information technologies developed by advanced information industries, and research and technology in areas such as medicine and healthcare. This will lead to major business opportunities for Hitachi in China.
HCR&D is reinforcing technology collabora-tions among Hitachi Group companies in China, and through cooperative relations with universities such as Tsinghua University, as well as training R&D staff. Also, by producing many research achievements from China, such as patents, research papers, and product and systems development, HCR&D will contribute to expanding Hitachi operations in China, and also to China's technological progress.
IEEE Milestone presentation ceremony
Hitachi is working to receive recognition from the IEEE, the world's largest professional association for the advancement of technology, while working with the IEEE to establish a new award in Hitachi's area of business focus.
In January 2012, Hitachi received the IEEE Milestone for the world's first "Practical Field Emission Microscope." Established in 1983, the IEEE Milestone honors outstanding technological innovations in areas of technology such as in the electrical, electronics, information and communication engineering that occurred at least twenty-five years ago, and that have contributed substantially to the advancement of society or industry.
In March 2012, the Technical Field Award for Innovation in Societal Infrastructure Award was established within the IEEE, sponsored by Hitachi. Through this award, Hitachi hopes to contribute to technological innovation and new industries worldwide in Social Innovation Business over the next 10 to 20 years.
In June 1999, the Hitachi Fellow system was established to recognize the distinguished service and contributions of an employee to the progress of science and technology on a global level, and for the international acknowledgement of Hitachi’s high standard of technology. The position of Hitachi Fellow is appointed by the Board of Directors, and it is the highest technical position within the company. The position of Hitachi Fellow is equivalent to that of executives. A Fellow is assured freedom of choice for research theme, research funding and support for external professional activities.
Hitachi Fellows (as of March 2011)
Dr. Hideki Kambara
Field: DNA sequencers
Dr. Hideaki Koizumi
Field: Optical topography
Hitachi, helping conserve the environment through CCS-IGCC research, is exploring technology to stably burn fuel that contains high concentrations of hydrogen while reducing nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions with a method called Integrated Coal Gasification Combined Cycle with CO2 Capture (CCS*1-IGCC*2). In trial combustors using this technology, NOX emissions were suppressed to below the environmental limit,*3 which has been an issue when reducing CO2 emissions from coal. This technology is being developed as part of a project of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Japan, for zero-emission coal-fired power generation technologies, in which Hitachi has participated since fiscal 2008.
Hitachi will continue to contribute to the conservation of the global environment through R&D in energy, by promoting the wider use of environmentally conscious and highly efficient power generation technologies based on effective use of resources, including thermal power generation.
Production volume visualization system
Against the backdrop of business globalization, production sites and distribution networks have expanded on a global scale. Unexpected disasters such as the Great East Japan Earthquake and the flooding in Thailand are resulting in increasing cases of supply chain disruption. At Hitachi, production management technology has been developed based on a statistical model to accurately predict production output and fluctuations in the production line due to events such as component shortages or machinery breakdown. This technology allows swift contingent plans to be executed in order to prevent delays in deliveries or declines in production volume.
A color visualization system was proposed so that when predictions of future fluctuations are made, the outcome can be easily understood by anyone. For example, if a machine breaks down, there is a display of the impact on later processes based on empirical production data. This information is shown as raindrops that range from red for a major impact to yellow for a medium impact and blue for almost no impact. When a problem occurs, the system shows highly accurate predictions of the impact on production lines five days later or for the volume that a line can produce in a week.