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Research and Development

The Spirit of “Focusing on Technology” is a Driving Force for Business Development The Sumitomo Electric Group performs R&D activities and promotes the commercialization of the results to achieve the goal of becoming a Glorious Excellent Company. In response to the major changes emerging in society especially in the fields of energy, information and communications and automotive, which are crucial business domains for our Group, we have launched the R&D activities to identify such social changes and create the products and services needed by the future society.
Research and development of unique  new technologies generated with  the diversity of businesses

At Sumitomo Electric, we believe that research and development is the engine for sustainable corporate growth, and have developed original products and technologies, as well as providing products, technology and services that benefit society, according to the belief.
Our current business portfolio comprises five business segments: Automotive; Information and Communications; Electronics; Electric Wire, Equipment and Energy; and Industrial Materials. All of these business segments grew out of innovative technology developed by the Sumitomo Electric Group with the dual aims of contributing to the development of society and strategically creating sustainable growth in the Group, through optimal distribution of our management resources.
This business portfolio is firmly supported by R&D in the technological aspects. As business conditions are changing drastically, the R&D Division will be required to play even more important roles in facilitating the Group's growth, through the development of new products and business.

R&D Expenses of the Sumitomo Electric Group by Year
Toward the development of new business domains

In “VISION 2012,” we set the target of “a contribution to sales ratio of 30% for new products.”
To meet this target, it is essential to develop new business domains using the core technology of the Sumitomo Electric Group, in addition to the development of new products in the conventional business fields. The R&D Unit has set the three themes of “life sciences,” “environment, energy and resources,” and “safety & security, ubiquitous networking” as the priority domains for research and development activities.

Life sciences

In the life sciences domain, we have developed CompovisionTM, a near infrared light imaging system, using the technologies we had cultivated in the information and communications field. We are now promoting the application of the product to various areas including food, pharmaceutical and medicine.

Environment, energy and resources

In the domains of environment, energy and resources, we focus on water resources and promote the development of a ballast water management system and desalination pretreatment system for practical application. Other R&D subjects include renewable energy, industrialization of agriculture and effective use of scarce resources.

Safety & security, ubiquitous networking

Using the technologies related to optical telecommunications, wireless communications and terminal devices that support broadband communication, we are promoting R&D of the system products that contribute to safety, security and ubiquitous networking in automobile transport and other sectors.

Technical innovations that lead the  future social reform, and the NEXT Center

Since the global financial crisis after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, each and every segment has been undergoing a paradigm shift. To respond to such major and dramatic social and economic changes and give direction to our Group's future business, we established the NEXT Center within the R&D Unit in January 2010.
The NEXT Center cooperates with internal and external experts and advanced research institutes to discuss social changes and trends on state-of-the-art technologies. Based on the prediction of the ideal state of the society 30 years later, the center examines what innovative technologies and business changes are required for Sumitomo Electric in the process to reach the ideal state (Figure 1).
More specifically, the NEXT Center has identified five keywords as to the major social changes expected in the future (Figure 2) and assumes that any major change that can bring innovation to society occurs in relation to one or multiple of the keywords. As a simple example, we can consider smart grid* as a change in the “overlap between energy and communication.” Similarly, reduction in the weight of cars and use of electric motors are changes in the “overlap between energy and mobility.”
Through research and development of the technologies with potential impact on the major changes that can lead to such social changes as mentioned above ahead of others, the NEXT Center aims to generate innovations to solve social problems and create large-scale new businesses that will play pivotal roles in the future performance of the Sumitomo Electric Group.


Smart Grid

A power transmission network that can optimize the flow of power with a function to adjust the flow of power automatically from both supply and demand sides through installation of measuring devices equipped with artificial intelligence or communication facilities.
Figure 1 Missions of the NEXT Center
Toward the establishment of  an energy-efficient society

At present, the NEXT Center places particular emphasis on “cities,” which are an overlap between all of the five keywords and experiencing major changes from all of the five perspectives. Predicting the future changes of the cities around the world at different stages of development, the NEXT Center is examining various aspects of the potential that our Group can contribute to the creation of new urban infrastructure using its rich basic technologies such as power, traffic control and information telecommunication systems.
Especially for the practical use of smart grid, a key is the establishment of an integrated system using information and telecommunications technologies because it is necessary to control a wide range of devises including power generating facilities such as photovoltaic and wind power systems, power supply units for electric vehicles and secondary batteries used for adjusting demand.
The following pages introduce “Micro Smart-Grid Demonstration System,” which is future-oriented power grid that connects and controls the above-mentioned devices, as an outcome of our R&D on smart grid.


※Please see the following page for the outlines of R&D.R&D

President & CEO Masayoshi Matsumoto's Blog November 1, 2011
Expectations for R&D

President & CEO Masayoshi Matsumoto's Blog September 15, 2011
WinD Lab—The Monument of Winds

Figure 2 Five Keywords Describing Societal Trends
2011 SEI CSR EYE Next
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