Research and Development
- Our Approach and Policy on R&D
- R&D Expenditures (consolidated global)
- Open Innovation
- Process Innovation
- Environmental Innovation
- Intellectual Property Management
Our Approach and Policy on R&D
To ensure improvement in the enterprise value of the Kawasaki Group, the internal companies, business divisions, and Head Office Corporate Technology Division work as a cohesive unit, concentrating technologies available within the Group and utilizing technological synergies to develop new products and new businesses with a competitive edge.
We also strive for balanced R&D through new product and new business development as well as activities geared toward such development in the future in each internal company in addition to nurturing and reinforcing the basic technologies needed to realize these new products and new businesses.
Engineers from the internal companies and business divisions and specialists in the Corporate Technology Division, who have expertise in various fields, form project teams to share issues and work together to develop new products and new businesses, seeking always to achieve the overall optimization. The Corporate Technology Division acts as an intermediary, facilitating access to the technological core competencies of each internal company so that they can be applied to products in other internal companies. This promotes the multifaceted expansion of technology and realizes major synergistic effects.
By thus combining the core technologies of the internal companies and business divisions and the basic technologies of the Corporate Technology Division, we will utilize matrix-based operations to create technological synergies throughout the Kawasaki Group and further raise enterprise value.
In addition, we have established the Kawasaki Group Policy on R&D.
The internal companies carry out R&D in areas specific to their businesses, while the Corporate Technology Division handles forward-looking R&D on a Company-wide basis. The internal companies and Corporate Technology Division work together closely on each project.
In addition, the entire Company works as one toward the realization of Group Vision 2030.
The Corporate Technology Division comprises the Corporate Technology Planning Center, Technical Institute, System Technology Development Center, Process Engineering Center, Intellectual Property Department, and HR and General Administration Department. Working together with the Head Office Presidential Project Management Division and Hydrogen Strategy Division, these bodies collaborate to advance R&D.
Hiroshi Nakatani, Representative Director, Vice President, and Senior Executive Officer, General Manager of Corporate Technology Division
Responsible Executive Organ and/or Committee
The internal companies and the Corporate Technology Division meet regularly to share information about the market environment and business strategy and form consensus regarding development themes.
They also regularly take steps to concentrate technologies from across the Company to plan and follow up on important Company-wide R&D, facilitate the horizontal exchange and sharing of technologies, and promote synergy.
R&D Expenditures (consolidated global)
|Percentage of sales||%||2.9||3.1||3.2||3.0||3.1|
|Number of employees engaged in R&D||Persons||1,888||1,941||1,916||1,956||2,000|
Open Innovation Policy
We have promoted open innovation as specified in the Kawasaki Group Policy on R&D.
- Pursuit of R&D Efficiency
In addition to pursuing R&D activities that leverage the mutual utilization of technologies possessed by business units within the Group, the Kawasaki Group will take advantage of open innovation to access cutting-edge technologies being developed at universities and external research organizations at home and abroad. Furthermore, the Group will proactively promote collaboration with external businesses.
Initiative in Open Innovation
Initiated Co-Development of Marine Machinery Operation Support System utilizing AI
Kawasaki and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K” Line) announced that they have concluded a co-development contract for “AI (Artificial Intelligence)-based Marine Machinery Operation Support System” that is expected to be part of the core technology to achieve autonomous vessel operation in the future. The system will have such functions as failure prediction/diagnostics, CBM (Condition-Based Maintenance), and optimum operation support, based on the data analytics of marine machinery operation data using AI.
In view of safer operations at sea, improvement of working environment for seafarers, and higher pressure for industrial competitiveness, the expectations for autonomous operations for ships is increasingly growing these days. Through this co-development project, they aim to complete the system by combining “K” Line’s extensive data on vessel operation and marine machinery operation collected from Kawasaki-Integrated Marine Solutions and its years of experiences in operation and maintenance of onboard machinery, and our technology and expertise in building ships and propulsion plants, and by having AI learn these data and knowledge.
- Improved our transportation process that applies 3D data
- Improved our production process with front-loading that utilizes VR technology
- Introduced an automated testing system that employs image processing technology
- Utilized next-generation work instruction systems that leverage projection mapping
Effects of Process Innovation
As a notable achievement, on account of the optimization of our returnable boxes used in the transportation of parts through verification that employs shipping performance data and 3D data of parts, we have improved our loading efficiency and thereby succeeded in reducing our distribution costs in Japan by 5%.
At Kawasaki, we have defined a set of in-house criteria to improve the environmental performance of our products through energy and resource conservation and to reduce our environmental footprint by reducing the amount of industrial waste produced and chemical substances used in our production processes. Products that meet these criteria are registered as the Kawasaki Ecological Frontiers (formerly the Kawasaki-brand Green Products).
Intellectual Property Management
Principles of Intellectual Property Management
We have established the Kawasaki Group Policy on Intellectual Property.
To promote strategic intellectual property activities, we maintain a structure whereby the Intellectual Property Department in the Corporate Technology Division drafts and implements corporate measures and works with the intellectual property management departments of the internal companies to carry out intellectual property activities in line with each segment’s business.
Intellectual Property Activities Structure
Hiroshi Nakatani, Representative Director, Vice President, and Senior Executive Officer
Responsible Executive Organ and/or Committee
The Intellectual Property Committee formulates operating and basic policies regarding Company-wide intellectual property activities.
Strategic Intellectual Property Activities
By taking part in business planning from the earliest stages, providing information useful for developing a business strategy that leverages IP information, making suggestions regarding strategy, and developing an IP strategy that will strengthen the business strategy, we strive to implement IP activities in coordination with management and the business strategy.
Countermeasures to the Improper Use of Kawasaki Group Brands
We have in place appropriate countermeasures based on trademark and other rights for dealing with commercial activities that make unauthorized use of Kawasaki Group brands, the manufacture and sale of counterfeit products, the use and application for registration of trademarks similar to those of the Kawasaki Group, and related issues. By further developing such activities, we will protect and further enhance market confidence in our brands.
Invention Reward System
Based on the Patent Law regulation pertaining to inventions by employees, Kawasaki has established a provision in its internal rules regarding inventions by employees to reward employees at specific milestones, such as the filing of a patent application (application reward), patent registration (registration reward), and practical application (performance-based reward). The Company faithfully adheres to this provision. In addition, the same reward system is applied even when the invention is not made public for strategic reasons. Of note, the performance-based reward is fairly awarded after duly taking into consideration how the Company has benefited from the invention, using an evaluation standard based on comparisons with other companies in the same industry as well as trends in society.
Intellectual property is an important management resource for increasing our business competitiveness. As such, Kawasaki’s basic policy is to secure and effectively utilize its own intellectual property while respecting the valid intellectual property rights of third parties. In line with this policy, we carry out grade-specific activities to foster correct awareness of intellectual property.