Strategic Usage of Intellectual Property and Intangible Assets
Forms of use of intellectual property and intangible assets in our group can be roughly classified into five categories. Re-examination of the management system of technology information, such as protection of intellectual property and intangible assets appropriate for each usage, know-how, and so forth, is performed, to improve cooperate value by maintaining superiority in business and creating new businesses.
Example of forms of usage of intellectual property and intangible assets by JGC group
|Expanding existing businesses||Contributing to receiving EPC project orders in existing fields such as oil & gas, renewable energy, life sciences, etc., securing for implementation by own group, expanding functional material manufacturing business, securing competitive advantage through cost-reducing technology|
|Licensing activities||Technological licenses relating to low-carbon and carbon-free technology, clean energy, chemical process, etc.|
|Entering new markets or establishing non-EPC models||Footholds for co-creation with other companies or creating new business, such as chemical recycling, constructing barriers to entry|
|Expansion to digital solution services||Soft business such as services for stabilizing plant operation and improving productivity, plant maintenance, safety risk evaluation, etc.|
|System construction||Construction of various types of in-company systems in which "implicit knowledge" such as experience, knowledge, and know-how of experienced engineers is made "explicit knowledge"|
Let us introduce some examples of efforts in use of intellectual property and intangible assets by our group.
Provision of Multidiscipline Engineering in LNG Production Facilities
The JGC group, which has been a leading company in building liquified natural gas (LNG) production plants, has been involved in building projects for 30% or more of all LNG production plants worldwide, utilizing experience spanning around half a century, and expertise. Also, we are providing solutions that maximize the value of LNG plants, out of various LNG-related technology that our group has, in each phase of the life cycle, such as EPC support of customer's "LNG businesses", new design plans, stable plant operation, and further increased LNG production and reduction of greenhouse gasses by energy conservation through effective investment. Knowledge and know-how cultivated through providing various solutions, and intellectually property rights are being put to use to expand into various businesses and technologies, such as offshore facilities, module building method, operation control of plants, making entire value chains low-carbon/carbon-free, and so forth.
Innovation in Pharmaceutical-Related Facilities
The JGC group holds healthcare and life sciences as one of its main businesses, and is proceeding with measures to handle global population increase and aging societies, and to realize high medical standards. We entered the field of building pharmaceuticals manufacturing facilities and installations in the 1980's, and our strengths are a rich performance history, proposal abilities that meet strict facility demands, and flexible ideas that combine various technologies.
In recent years, there is increased customer demand for worker safety in various types of production facilities, cost-saving, and so forth. Our group grasps such customer issues early on, and having been involved in building solid preparation plants for many years, invented a simple container lid opening/closing mechanism "BLATTM", to automate processes relating to opening and closing containers while ensuring airtightness of the containers. As a result, reduction in the size of containers, and reduction of workers have been realized at the same time. One robot is capable of all small-can handling including opening and closing operations, with the advantages of reduced costs and reduced maintenance work. In addition, the risk of contamination of the preparation by foreign matter can be reduced. There is no supply of raw materials from above, and accordingly there is no ascending and descending of stairs by employees. Accordingly, a plant with extremely high safety for both products and employees can now be provided.
Application is not limited to pharmaceuticals, and fields of application are spreading to food, cosmetics, and chemical products and so forth as well.
- *"BLATTM" was developed in joint with Mutsubishi Rubber, Co., Ltd.
Design Work Optimization by Plant Layout Design Technique "Auto Plot PATHFINDERTM"
The plot plan is the starting point for plant layout when performing plant design, and needs to be created taking into consideration optimization of layout of units and equipment, reduction of customer initial investment (capital expenditure) and maintenance and operating costs (operating expenditure), and ease of maintaining and ease of expanding plants. Accordingly, not only knowledge and understanding of process technology, but a broad range of technology and much experience is demanded of an engineer creating a plot plan.
This conventionally depended on design knowledge, know-how, and so forth, that was implicit knowledge of experienced engineers. However, Auto Plot PATHFINDERTM is a new proposing-type design technique that instantaneously makes a great many layout proposals and would be unconceivable to humans, by combining knowledge and technology of senior engineers that has been made into explicit knowledge and codified with unit division by AI. Strict evaluation and layout adjustment (know-how) by engineers having a high degree of expertise enables an optimal plant design that the customer desires to be provided from the stage of basic design, realizing a speedy and detailed plant EPC service.
In this way, activities of changing "implicit knowledge" of various types of knowledge and know-how, such as designs by experienced engineers cultivated through projects into "explicit knowledge", and carrying on to building new systems, is being expanded to other operations as well.
Expansion of Application for Metal-Ceramics Composite Material "MMC"
MMC (Metal Matrix Composites), developed by Japan Fine Ceramics Co., Ltd. of our group, is a composite material of metal and ceramics. It is used in a wide range of applications, such as stage components for semiconductor and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) manufacturing equipment and guide components for inspection equipment because of its lightweight, high rigidity, excellent thermal dissipation, and low thermal contraction. It was adopted as a component of the asteroid probe "Hayabusa2" in recognition of its highly functional characteristics that enable precise design.
In addition to MMC, we also focus on the development of applications that take advantage of the characteristics of various ceramic products such as engineering ceramics and electronic ceramics.
Development of Substitute Materials that Contribute to Reduction in Amount of Microplastic Beads Washed out to Sea
In recent years, there is concern that minute pieces of plastic called microplastic that have accumulated in the oceans and lakes over long periods of time will adversely affect the environment, including the ecosystem. One type of microplastic is a fine-grained feel-improvement material (microplastic beads (MPB)) for cosmetics, and is used as a cosmetic raw material. However, in recent years, restricting use thereof is being studied in many countries and regions, and application of a substitute material is awaited. Amidst such increasing demand, JGC Catalysts and Chemicals Ltd. of our group has fallen in line with "Clean Beauty" that cosmetic users worldwide aim for, and further used their nanomaterial control technology and developed a silica beads product "CHIFFONSIL" that is a mineral and botanical material, and "OSSfEC" that is rice-based starch particles, to serve as substitutes for microplastics, to protect our irreplaceable planetary environment. A proposal was made to a customer cosmetics manufacturer, and was employed.