Today, the rapid evolution in digitalization is greatly transforming the very structure of industry and society. This urgently requires that we shift to a business model with an eye toward a market focused on consumer sovereignty shifting from the consumption of goods to the consumption of experiences.
Daikin is taking up the challenge to achieve co-creative innovation through industry-government-academia partnerships by defining co-creation as the comprehensive initiatives, which involve deep interaction between the tops, managers, and team members of two organizations to encourage everyone in working together in considering topics from the very core question, therefore leading to the creation of new value, to move away from a full in-house development in preparation for the future.
With the aim of creating new business that contributes to solving social issues around the world, Daikin is focusing on tie-ups with universities in Japan and other countries. In fiscal 2018, we signed a "University Corporate Relations Agreement" with the University of Tokyo for a 10-year partnership with investment of approximately 10 billion yen.
This agreement comprises three shared creation projects: tie-ups with business ventures with the aim of early market application; shared creation future vision leading to SDGs and Society 5.0*; and creation of futuristic technologies centered on advancing core technologies and creating new value. For example, for shared creation future vision, we will establish the vision for making air more valuable in the future, and come up with the technologies and businesses needed to create this value, in the process allowing both the University of Tokyo and Daikin to clarify the research tasks they need to take on.
In addition, the main feature of this agreement is the full-fledged exchange of human resources between the two parties. The University of Tokyo instructors and students, entrepreneurs, and Daikin employees can go freely between the organizations of the agreement parties with the aim of sharing knowledge, conducting joint research, and building career paths. Another aim is to accelerate mutual human resource exchange and achieve successes from shared creation by conducting global internships at Daikin worldwide sales, production, and R&D bases and providing assistance to the globalization and fostering global human resources at the University of Tokyo. As an example, we conduct joint training camp every year with the research lab of Professor Sakata (Department of Technology Management for Innovation), who is serving as a Daikin fellow. The aim of the training camp is to promote bilateral discussions on commercializing the research results from the university and resolving issues faced by the business departments in discovering themes of co-creation between industry and academia.
Currently, we are developing a prediction system for future market and technological trends using technology informatics taught as part of the social-collaborative seminars held at the Sakata Lab in order to develop new applications for materials.
A total of 15 roundtable meetings on the theme of making air valuable were held over two years. The meetings involved participation by 41 professors representing 15 departments from the University of Tokyo, where lively discussions took place and a variety of knowledge was shared between the two parties. Through these meetings, we were able to take another look at our responsibility to society as a company that provides solutions with air and consider the value with air as we conducted discussions on the emergence of COVID-19 in the past two years.
We jointly established the Collaborative Research Unit on Circular Economy Modeling toward Cleaner Air.
Circular economy refers to an economic system that generates value through the cyclic use of resources, such as recycling and reuse, as opposed to the conventional economic system (linear economy) which involves a unilateral movement of resources from mining to processing, consumption, and disposal.
Air conditioners uses a large amount of metals such as copper and aluminum and refrigerants with high global warming potential, as well as consume electricity during their operation. Given the impact of the increased demand for air conditioners going forward, we strive to establish the necessary technology, systems, and infrastructure to realize a circular economy through conducting verification experiments and aims to promote policy proposals in achieving a sustainable economic model in 2026.
At the founding commemorative symposium held online, we introduced the founding objective and activity targets, as well as delivered lectures on the research trend of circular economy. We received a great deal of positive feedback from the over 300 participants in attendance in the post-event survey, expressing their interest in participation in our initiatives and willingness to share their space for experiments.
In addition, we signed new contracts toward creating future technologies, including 17 social collaboration seminars, one donation seminar, and 23 joint research seminars.
Among these, together we worked with Nippon Paint Holdings Co., Ltd. to formulate and publish the Reference Guide for Educational Institutions for Reducing Risks of Respiratory Infections.
Given our strength in global expansion, we offer global internships and conduct workshops. Twenty-three students participated in the internship, which included online meetings. This fiscal year, we focused particularly on actively involving instructors and had six on board from the working stage. We believe that the instructors we hosted, who had an opportunity to gain further understanding of Daikin’s unique qualities and culture, will have a positive impact on future collaboration.
In addition, our employees also participated in seminars given by the academic frontier of the East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts, with over 100 employees attending the first seminar. This is an initiative to expand the horizons of our employees through exchanges with diverse people and knowledge that they do not normally have the opportunity to meet.
In fiscal 2016, Daikin established the Daikin Collaboration Research Institute at Osaka University. This institute is developing new materials, new processes, and processing technologies related to the air conditioner business and has yielded results through its efforts to date in materials and procedure development in the environmental field.
This collaboration comes up with themes on revolutionary technologies and major themes with far-reaching implications, making use of Osaka University's state-of-the-art analysis equipment and technologies, such as the world-renowned Joining and Welding Research Institute, to tackle problems from a medium-to-long-term perspective and with a view to application across numerous fields.
In fiscal 2020, we solicited new ideas for research themes on air and spaces from students attending all schools of Osaka University. Until now, Daikin has collaborated with a wide range of departments at the university including not only chemistry, engineering and information and computer sciences, but also humanities, ethnology, pharmaceutical science and dentistry, to conduct feasibility studies.* With regard to the future target value and vision that we will work together with Osaka University to achieve, our business departments and TIC have invited input for business ideas, and conducted workshops involving students of the Innovators Club and research lab of humanities and social science disciplines from the perspective of advanced technology for information science. We have formulated three main pillars of "Infrasharing," "Mass customization of environment," and "Digital Twin City" for achieving the vision of "Leading the Future of People and Space." Meanwhile, we have established technology and moved into the demonstration phase, while continuing to evaluate the commercialization concerning six themes of research conducted to date.
In fiscal 2021, we established a basic technology for hybrid laser welding through a feasibility study involving a blue laser for semiconductors and fiber laser. This technique is used for welding materials such as copper wires onto the motors of air conditioner compressor units, which will be continuously inspected for quantitative assessment on planned repairs and updates as we accumulate data at Yodogawa Plant and Kashima Plant over time. In addition, we also developed the AI-based automatic correction technology for processing conditions, which has been adopted on the compressor line at Rinkai Factory.
We established the Daikin Information Science Research Unit (Di-CHiLD), and developed the controlling technology for sleep and learning environment aimed at expanding our Air and Space Solutions Business, as well as engineering workload reduction technologies such as air conditioner automatic selection and position detection aimed at expanding the Air Conditioner and Space Design Business from sales of air conditioners. We have established these technologies that started out as joint research themes, and are in the process of multiple patent applications.
Currently, we are conducting theme development activities, which also involve business departments, with universities and hospitals as two target markets. For universities, we added sensing and control as the new themes with installation of displacement ventilation air conditioners and density alert system based on traffic sensing to provide a safe and secure space, and energy management through traffic-sensor based on air conditioning and lighting. In addition, we are in the progress of deliberating materializing the business of providing an entire building with the addition of POC* for new air conditioners as a theme for large and open spaces.
We are conducting a large verification experiment at the New Minoh Campus, School of Foreign Studies, Osaka University that just opened in April 2021. The experiment involves the concept of interaction between multitude of people, knowledge and culture. We are conducting multifaceted demonstration experiments for air space design and management that will guide the smart campus concept. An example of our experiments is the development of the design guideline for displacement ventilation air conditioners as a means for air ventilation that balances safety with energy efficiency. Other examples of research include comfort control and operations of air conditioners using a membrane ceiling to alleviate draft felt from the air output from the air conditioner, and development of new air conditioners that balance energy consumption with comfort by working in conjunction with human motion detection.
Discussion being held at Osaka University
We worked with the Joining and Welding Research Institute, which possesses the world's leading technology, on the development of technology for sophisticated manufacturing and differentiation elements for the air conditioning business, and worked on creating an innovative fundamental technology for fluorochemicals as well as strived to take full advantage of Osaka University's cutting-edge analytical devices and technology for the chemicals business. We are also making use of the cross-appointment program* to strategically facilitate human resource exchanges.
For air conditioners, we have hired Professor Fujita of the Design and Systems Engineering Department in fiscal 2020, who is the lead instructor of the project-based course, Interdisciplinary Innovation Comprehensive, to find solutions to social issues at Osaka University. In fiscal 2021, he provided workshops for our employees to inspire theme creation and helped us in cultivating Daikin’s human resources.
As for chemicals, we have hired Professor Ogoshi, the core leader of the Organic Chemistry Department, and created themes together through a feasibility study and joint research with Professor Ogoshi acting as the coordinator. In fiscal 2021, four feasibility studies were carried out. To date, we have utilized our network of human resources in striving to create themes in a variety of fields.
We implement a training program for outstanding students at the School of Information Science and Technology at Osaka University (PhD students). We also conduct an internship program, which incorporates learning about challenges that may arise when using information technologies such as AI, IoT, and Big Data, and aims to cultivate human resources with practical skills through real life learning using actual data.
The leading researcher program receives corporate funding from the phase of fundamental research with an anticipation for advanced research results from these outstanding, young researchers, on future research themes that are not feasible by the university or corporation alone. We are contemplating the theme of the estimation system for body composition (body fat ratio) that can be useful in the sports gym business of the Defense Systems Division.
Daikin Information and Communications Technology College achieved its initial target for 1,000 lecture attendees in fiscal 2021 and it is now working to increase this figure to 1,500 by fiscal 2023. Furthermore, for challenging tasks of the PBL* theme, we are inviting professors at Osaka University frequently to the TIC to conduct office hours for detailed instruction in order to solve the challenges.
For our diversity initiatives (female participation promotion), we have been implementing the innovation female participation promotion program, reception with female graduate students, and career advancement support program during childcare leaves. Given considerations for the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuing with the implementation of symposiums via virtual meetings. In addition, we are conducting an online festival to entice more high school girls to consider studying the sciences.
Daikin began an comprehensive collaboration with Kyoto University in June 2013 with the aim of value creation through integrating humanities with sciences. Since then, we have worked on creating themes related to air and space primarily led by the Center for the Promotion of Interdisciplinary Education and Research, as well as implemented projects involving researchers in the humanities and sciences departments, such as the "100 people world café," where we launched the program of "800 keywords on the value of air." In addition, our collaboration also contributed to the creation of themes for joint research that played a part in the existing businesses of Daikin Industries, Ltd. as well as involved collaboration and exchange centered on cutting-edge technology that will transform our mainstay businesses of air condtioning and chemicals business.
In April 2021, we re-started our comprehensive collaboration under the new keyword of "well-being (a society for better living)" on subjects such as healthcare (healthcare-industry collaboration) based on DNA search using Nagahama Cohort, utilization of cutting-edge technology, collaboration in the fields of energy and cold chain, Asia and African area studies, and utilization of ventures.
In fiscal 2020, we began initiatives on next-generation batteries, including solid-state batteries and fluoride ion batteries. Through the co-creative process with the research lab, we were able to establish relationships with automobile and battery manufacturers connected with the lab, as well as gain a wealth of knowledge on batteries, in addition to materials under the scope of our business. As a result, we are making progress with the creation of a structure for future commercialization.
In fiscal 2021, we worked with Dr. Takeshi Abe of the Department of Energy and Hydrocarbon Chemistry at Kyoto University on the development of fluoride cathode material for lithium-ion batteries, and confirmed operation on carbon fluoride. Upon verifying the principle, we plan to proceed with improving the cycle. At the same time, we also conducted joint research on polymer electrolyte.
In December 2021, we hosted an event called Expanding the Creation of a Next Generation Society by Kyoto University x Daikin under our comprehensive collaboration agreement. A total of 220 people participated including online. Daikin provided an overview on the Fusion 25 Strategic Management Plan and shared its initiatives, while professors involved in the partnership agreement at Kyoto University presented their initiatives. The event received positive feedback, including: “Daikin really conveyed its passion and determination toward the comprehensive collaboration.” Some participants also expressed interest in co-creation following the event.
In March 2020, Doshisha University and Daikin concluded a comprehensive collaboration agreement with the goal of conducting practical R&D on the theme of environmental issues. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions through its businesses, Daikin will harness the practical academic research capabilities for use in real society of Doshisha University, which aims to use academic outcomes to benefit society, along with the university's proprietary environmental technologies and expertise in related fields. Both parties will work to put CO2 decomposition and reuse technologies into practical use and to further increase the efficiency of air conditioners that integrates technologies of mechanics, eletronics, and materials. In addition, they will develop talent in collaborative innovation through joint research.
We are conducting research on the technology to reduce CO2 emissions utilizing Doshisha University's molten salt electrolysis technology and Daikin's fluorine technology. Specifically, we are studying the decomposition and reusage of CO2 to turn CO2 into chemicals and materials via electrolysis for reuse, such as in fuels. We have confirmed that CO2 can generate useful compounds as the joint-research is progressing and results are beginning to show.
We launched a technology theme aimed at developing environmentally conscious technologies and products through making air conditioners more efficient. We are conducting research on the themes of motor structure and inverter control as well as elucidating the corrosive mechanism of heat exchangers for corrosion resistance.
The cultivation of human resources for collaborative innovation began in earnest in fiscal 2021. We launched a course called Co-creation for Next Environment between Doshisha and Daikin under the advanced liberal arts subjects offered at Doshisha University. The course puts young employees of Daikin and students of Doshisha University together through mutual learning with a friendly rivalry, which is expected to yield strong educational results.
Specifically, the course provides general lectures based on Doshisha University’s philosophy of conscientious education, as well as practical learning on future design that creates new technology and product ideas through predicting future societal changes and technological progress. In addition, the university also offers a full range of liberal arts subjects, including "Special Lectures on Environmental Literacy" and "Environmental Economics," in aiming to achieve a balanced education that blends sciences with humanities.
We conducted an exercise on future design as a group project. Participants provided positive feedback on the experience, stating that it has inspired a new perspective and way of thinking from being in the same class with someone from a different standpoint; namely university students and company employees, and engaging in frank discussions.
Future design exercise
In 2003, the Tsinghua University-Daikin R&D Center was established at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China's top universities. Since then, Daikin and the university have worked together to jointly conduct technology development with a focus on air conditioner technologies.
In fiscal 2016, the parties began collaborating in the chemical field as well. The center will expand into environmental fields such as air quality and energy conservation, as it carries out research with top-level scientists aimed at solving environmental problems.
In fiscal 2018, through participation in the University Industry Collaboration Committee (UICC), we built a strong network with Tsinghua University professors. We will utilize this network and our collaboration with the university to advance our R&D bases in China, including our base in Shenzhen.
In July 2020, professor Xudong Yang assumed the position of the president and chairman of Tsinghua University-Daikin R&D Center. Professor Yang is an expert in architecture and IAQ, and has the background of serving as a fellow in the U.S. and China. In addition to developing technologies for air conditioners and ventilation units to address the global challenges of low carbon emissions and carbon neutrality as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, we are making efforts from a wide perspective that will lead to our business results, including developing guidelines for making the actual living space safe and secure.
Moreover, Tsinghua University, Daikin Industries, Ltd., and Daikin Fluorochemicals China Co., Ltd. are conducting joint research with the aim of putting fluorine materials to practical use in EV batteries as well as in environment-conscious vehicles (EVs, FCVs, etc.)
Daikin began a comprehensive collaboration with Tottori University in May 2021 with the aim of promoting programs such as the arid land research and healthcare research through collaboration between healthcare, and industry. The program involves research projects such as the air conditioning solution research at Tottori University's Arid Dome, the only arid land research facility in Japan, and healthcare related research between the departments of medicine and engineering on stress reduction effect verification. In addition, we make use of the global training facility of Ales Aoya located in Tottori Prefecture to conduct active interaction between researchers and students at Tottori University as well as fostering expert human resources capable of creating air conditioner solutions business on the themes related to global arid lands.
In October 2016, Daikin Industries Ltd. teamed up with RIKEN, Japan's only comprehensive research institution dedicated to the natural sciences, to launch the RIKEN-DAIKIN Wellness Life Collaboration Program. Under the theme of comfortable and healthy spaces, the program is working on research to extend healthy life expectancy.
In June 2017, the partners established the RIKEN BDR-Daikin Collaboration Center for joint research into creating spaces that prevent fatigue. In November 2017, test facilities were established at RIKEN's Integrated Innovation Building (IIB) in Kobe for clinical research investigating matters such as how certain levels of temperature and humidity affect levels of fatigue. Data on the impacts on fatigue caused by air environment obtained in the winter of 2017 was presented in May 2018 at a meeting of the Japanese Society of Fatigue Science.
In addition, in 2019, we concluded a co-creation agreement with RIKEN's subsidiary RIKEN Innovation Co., Ltd. Going forward, we will continue to strive to extend healthy life expectancy through collaboration.
As a co-creative theme in 2020, we participated in the COVID-19 Droplets Research Collaboration/Cooperation Program using supercomputer Fugaku. We aim to establish a safe and secure space design with simulation of ventilation method (airflow), airflow distribution, indoor air pressure, and air cleanliness, in order to facilitate implementation of the research and development and create innovation and not merely stopping at the simulation of droplets and airflow. In fiscal 2021, this project received the ACM Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research. The ACM Gordon Bell Prize is commonly known as the Nobel Prize of Supercomputing.
In addition, we further stepped up our efforts in fiscal 2021 to visualize airflow through improved digital engineering and airflow simulation of various air purifiers. The findings from our efforts are also being applied to the Fugaku project in further promoting social implementation of indoor environment design in response to COVID-19.
Since 2015, we have been working with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in all technological fields in aiming to resolve the technical challenges we embrace at Daikin. We are harnessing the strengths of AIST in social implementation and standardization in implementing the three following projects.
In October 2012, Daikin Industries, Ltd. and the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) established the Future Joint Research Laboratories. In conventional agreements between industry and academia, the corporation generally names the project content and the university carries out the necessary project research. But this collaboration between Daikin and NAIST begins with a quest for pressing social issues, followed by discussions on how to solve them and then the start of research toward this goal.
In fiscal 2021, we worked to create a new theme that will connect to Daikin’s Fusion 25 Strategic Management Plan. Our goal is to discover technology seeds that combine strengths in biological, information, and material sciences at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology.
Find out more in your region.