Advanced Technology Initiatives
Advanced Simulation Technology, Machine and Deep Learning
① IBM Q
IBM Q is the name of the quantum computer provided by IBM. The IBM Q Network is the world's largest network consisting of various private companies, universities, and public research institutions with the aim of utilizing quantum computers in different forms. JSR participates in the IBM Q Network as a member company of the IBM Q Network Hub at Keio University and also participates as an IBM Q Network Partner.
The fastest practical application of quantum computers is expected to be simulations using high-precision quantum chemical calculations.JSR is working on the development and acquisition of quantum chemical calculation technology focused on actual materials through the IBM Q Hub, etc., and is also looking at applications for the tests.
JSR is pushing forward with cross-organizational efforts in order to promote a digital transformation in R&D based on material informatics (MI). In addition to various computer experiments and simulations, including first-principle calculation aimed at developing materials through cyberspace experiments as opposed to chemical experiments in the real world, we are working to establish underlying technologies such as advanced analytics, including machine learning. In collaboration with Enthought, Inc., JSR has been working on the development of a data management system and various simulation technologies with an eye towards applications for actual product development.
Through these efforts we will promote the development of data science with a business perspective, and not only improve efficiency, but also create real value for business. Furthermore, we will aim to create new businesses in the future.
Using drones to inspect facilities and for routine patrols dramatically improves our ability to collect information. Drones are able to improve security and reduce workloads by managing information history and automatically assessing equipment corrosion through image analysis.
The Kashima Plant began using drones for equipment inspection in its non-hazardous material area in 2017, and based on the March 2019 guidelines regarding the safe operation of drones at plants issued by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, we carried out drone flights to inspect hazardous facilities from above the ground during regular repairs in June.
Inspecting high places is labor-intensive with setting up scaffolding, expensive, and highly dangerous work. By continuing to carry out drone inspections, as well as increasing safety by eliminating the dangers associated with inspecting high places, we are promoting smarter work practices and improving visual inspections with more "eyes" to check our facilities.
② Smart Industrial Complex
The skills and know-how of experienced technicians with their tacit knowledge will, by using digital technology, be converted into explicit knowledge and utilized as such. More specifically, a platform will be built leveraging smart sensors and wireless technology to automatically collect and analyze unstructured data, such as motion images and sound recordings, from plant operation management and maintenance tasks performed by experienced technicians in the chemical products production process. This datawill then be combined with data from machine equipment such as distributed control systems (DCS). In the future we will develop a solution that can present operators with more informed decisions using a machine learning algorithm in realtime, and we will continue to demonstrate and implement the functions and foundations required for next-generation smart industrial complexes.
③ Virtual Reality
Since the latter half of the 1990s, automation of plant equipment has progressed, reducing field work and greatly improving safety. The younger generation of workers who haven't had the opportunity to get to know the difficulties or troubles of operating the plant experience simulations of work training, occupational accidents, and equipment accidents using virtual reality headsets. Unlike paper-based manuals, through these kinds of simulations, workers are able to get an idea of the dangers that can happen in the field ensuring they don't make the same mistakes in real life.
The Company and Keio University have established a joint research building, JSR-Keio University Medical and Chemical Innovation Center (JKiC), positioned as a base for collaboration among industry, academia, and medicine.
This kind of collaboration between a university medical school and a chemical materials manufacturer is the first of its kind in the world.
At JKiC, where medical viewpoints and knowledge of material development come together, we plan to provide various solutions in the fields of health and longevity research based on new types of diagnosis and treatment techniques, medical support technologies that use digital health and 3D printing, and genome analysis.
While ensuring there is adequate space for promoting collaboration among industry, academia, and medicine, we will establish a department matches medical needs with the seeds of technology, working on new innovations in Japan where the advances of age far exceed those of any other country in the world. By delving into a completely new concept of fusion between medicine and chemistry, we will create innovations and establishing practical technologies that contribute to a world of health and longevity.
② Center of Materials Innovation
The research and development base in the Yokkaichi Plant is made up of 5 laboratories; the Performance Polymer Research Laboratories concerned with the Petrochemical Products Business, the Display Solution Research Laboratories, the Fine Electronic Materials Research Laboratories, and the Edge Computing Research Laboratories concerned with the Digital Solutions Business, and the Advanced Materials Research Laboratories which develops new materials not connected with any existing business with the help of free-thinking researchers.
The main purpose of our new research building will be to focus on research to create new businesses. To this end, we will establish a flexible research system, in close collaboration with the five research laboratories, to enable quick response to users' situations by setting research areas that anticipate market needs. Furthermore, in order to enhance our ability to create innovation, which is the source of our sustainable competitiveness, we utilize this new building to create an environment where adventitious communication and collaboration between different fields from each laboratory can flourish and research activities in collaboration with external parties as a base for open innovation can be promoted.