Research and Development
Our Approach and Policy on R&D
The business segments and Corporate Technology Division come together in an effort to concentrate available technologies, pursue the utilization of technological synergy, and thereby develop competitive new products and new businesses toward enhancement of the Kawasaki Group’s corporate value into the future.
The Kawasaki Group’s R&D also endeavors to achieve a good balance between the activities of each business segment to develop new products and new businesses, and to create future new products and new businesses, and the nurturing and strengthening of basic technologies for the achievement of this end.
Engineers in each business segment and specialists in the Corporate Technology Division with expertise in various fields form project teams to share issues and develop new products and new businesses with the aim of consistent overall optimization. Furthermore, the Corporate Technology Division acts as an intermediary facilitating mutual access to the technological core competencies possessed by each business segment so that they can be applied to products in other segments. This approach enables the multifaceted expansion of technology and realizes major synergistic effects.
Thus, by adopting so-called matrix management combining the core technologies of each business segment and the basic technologies of the Corporate Technology Division, we aim to create technological synergy throughout the entire Kawasaki Group and to further enhance corporate value.
Based on this approach, we have established the Kawasaki Group Policy on R&D.
Each business segment carries out R&D in area specific to its business, while the Corporate Technology Division handles forward-looking R&D on a Company-wide basis. The business segments 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 Hydrogen Strategy Division, the Head Office Presidential Project Management Division, and DX Strategy Division, these bodies collaborate to advance R&D.
Hiroshi Nakatani, Representative Director, Senior Corporate Executive Officer, General Manager of Corporate Technology Division
Responsible Executive Organ and/or Committee
The business segments 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.
Promotion of Innovation
We have promoted open innovation as specified in the fourth section of Kawasaki Group Policy on R&D.
4. 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
Kawasaki Opens “Future Lab HANEDA”―An Open-Innovation Hub for Robotics Development
On April 20, 2022, Kawasaki Group launched “Future Lab HANEDA” for open-innovation-based development of robotics products and services and demonstrations for their potential real-life implementation at Haneda Innovation City, a large-scale, multi-purpose complex with retail facilities and offices located adjacent to Haneda Airport.
The Lab—which was established by a consortium comprising Kawasaki, Intellectual Capital Management Group (ICMG), Kiraboshi Bank, Ltd., Haneda Airport (Japan Airport Terminal Co., Ltd. and Haneda Future Research Institute Inc.), and Ota City, Tokyo—offers a space for conducting demonstration tests intended for social implementation of robotics products to resolve various social issues. The launching of the Lab was part of the “Haneda Kyoso (Co-Generation) Project,” aimed at establishing a sustainable service ecosystem.
- 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 system (formerly the Kawasaki-brand Green Products system).
Intellectual Property Management
Principles of Intellectual Property Management
The Kawasaki Group has positioned intellectual property (IP) as an important management resource supporting our efforts to develop businesses and brands with competitive advantages by leveraging creative and innovative solutions and taking full advantage of our core competencies. These assets are therefore essential to achieving ongoing improvement in corporate value. On the basis of this recognition, and in accordance with the Kawasaki Group Policy on Intellectual Property, we endeavor to ensure and utilize the IP rights of the Group and strive to respect and prevent violation of the valid IP rights of third parties by promoting three-pronged activities with IP added to business and R&D.
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 each business segment to carry out intellectual property activities in line with each segment's business.
Intellectual Property Activities Structure
Hiroshi Nakatani, Representative Director, Senior Corporate Executive Officer
Responsible Executive Organ and/or Committee
The Intellectual Property Committee formulates operating and basic policies regarding Company-wide intellectual property activities, and holds committee meetings as it deems necessary.
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 and promoting 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 are committed to contributing to the protection and further enhancement of 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.