Creating Technology Synergies
Here are representative examples of synergies generated from cross-cutting and organic combination of unique technological seeds owned by individual group companies.
Fujifilm + Fuji Xerox
For many years, Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox have drawn upon superior technologies and strong marketing clout in their respective fields. With today's dramatic development of digital technology, we are expanding our imaging, printing and document markets while further integrating these areas.
Print on demand
Print on demand is one area in which significant development is anticipated through technological synergies between Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox. Fuji Xerox has acquired the No. 1 position for on-demand output. We will collectively solidify this position by infusing into this business the color-printing expertise and digital image processing technology of Fujifilm and FUJIFILM Graphic Systems Co., Ltd.
Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox synergies in print-on-demand field
In the future of printing field, inkjet and xerography technologies are likely to replace certain graphic arts printing capabilities. In particular, the industrial inkjet business has significant growth potential. Fujifilm has been conducting M&A and integrating the technologies and know-hows of these companies to develop new technologies and products in order to seize business opportunities for the future.
Next-generation inkjet digital printing technology was publicly introduced at drupa 2008, the world's largest printing industry exhibition. We intend to take on the challenges of the digital printing world by mobilizing the full technical capabilities of the Group, including: prepress expertise and unique image processing technologies cultivated by Fujifilm in printing and imaging fields, respectively; the xerography technology of Fuji Xerox; ink technologies of FUJIFILM Sericol (FFSR); and print head technology of FUJIFILM Dimatix (FDMX).
- Seiichi Takagi (left), Technical Manager of the Design for Environment Group, Technology & Development Group, Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.
- Akira Tashiro (right), Research Manager of the Production Engineering & Development Center, Research & Development Management Headquarters, FUJIFILM Corporation.
Note: Position titles are for the period during which these two were involved in development.
Biomass plastic has recently garnered significant attention as an environmentally friendly material. Fuji Xerox and Fujifilm have jointly developed a biomass plastic with more than 30% plant (corn)-derived constituents by weight and launched a multifunction printer-copier device incorporating mechanical components made of this plastic. The use of biomass plastic reduces CO2 emissions by more than 16% from material procurement to disposal compared with conventional plastics such as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS).
Biomass plastic development-a win-win solution
Fuji Xerox began focusing on biomass plastic as a technology for the future in September 2002. In describing how the collaboration started, Mr. Takagi from Fuji Xerox explains, “I decided to broadly seek out relevant divisions within the Fujifilm Group to keep ahead of the competition, and after talking with an acquaintance at Fujifilm, I was introduced to the Production Engineering & Development Center in the Research & Development Management Headquarters.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Tashiro from Fujifilm revealed there had been mutual interest in this development effort. He said, “Fujifilm had begun researching biomass plastic around three years earlier toward utilizing it for components of QuickSnap and digital cameras, but we had not reached the point of practical application. After being approached by Fuji Xerox and realizing our research would be utilized, we couldn't have wished for more.”
Improved impact tenacity and flame resistance were key to be incorporated in Fuji Xerox components
As a result, the two companies launched a joint effort in February 2005 and began full-scale development of biomass plastic. At that time, biomass plastic was mainly used for applications that did not require much strength, such as for agricultural uses, multipurpose film, and pots. Fuji Xerox, however, set the goal of achieving more than 25% plant-derived constituents by weight and developing a plastic suitable for internal components. The objective was not just to use components made of plant-derived material, but to replace conventional ABS resin-based plastics, which have a more detrimental impact on the environment.
Previously developed biomass plastic tended to break down when exposed to high humidity or heat and lacked the strength and flame-resistance required for use in mechanical components. The development of a technology that satisfied both these needs was extremely challenging. Tashiro said, “Fujifilm proved to be most useful in improving strength in the course of the development effort.”
Fuji Xerox was primarily responsible for resolving the issue of flame-resistance and for balancing the various properties of the plastic. “The relative quality of biomass plastic depends on the interaction between the material mixture and formation conditions. Fujifilm cooperated by providing know-how, personnel and facilities, all of which proved to be invaluable. Fujifilm's method of steadily proceeding, step by step, to correctly analyze and discuss test results also provided valuable insights,” Takagi explained.
Collaboration between Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox provided a significant sense of accomplishment
Tashiro and other developers on the Fujifilm side have said that through this effort, they received a great sense of accomplishment. This was the first experience for both companies to tackle full-scale development of plastic from primary materials, and the effort produced many discoveries. The work also awakened a new awareness of the joy of manufacturing.
Tashiro praised the development approach of Fuji Xerox, saying, “The goals set by Fuji Xerox were truly outstanding. I thought it would be possible to further increase the ratio of plant-derived material, but Fuji Xerox established the target of a plastic consisting of at least 25% plant-derived material for commercial purposes with the intention of releasing it to the market ahead of the competition. And we actually exceeded the target by achieving a level greater than 30%. Just as significant, beyond simple plastic components, the plastic can be used for mechanical parts subject to stress and could be used in any way conceivable.
Takagi confidently confirmed, “The next technological challenge is to produce a cheaper biomass plastic. I hope we can work even more closely together next time.”
ApeosPort-III C3300, a full-color digital multifunction device that uses biomass plastic parts for mechanical components (lever behind the cover).
Biomass Plastics Mark: The Biomass Plastics Mark certifies a product contains more than 25% plant-derived constituent by weight. ApeosPort-III C3300 is the first product in the industry to achieve this mark.
Other main developers
- FUJIFILM Corporation: Hidetoshi Kawasaki, Hirokazu Yagishita, Tadashi Mochizuki, Fumiyuki Suzuki
- Fuji Xerox: Toshiaki Sagara, Kenji Yao, Masahiro Moriyama
Fujifilm + Toyama Chemical
The Fujifilm Group maintains a broad spectrum of fundamental technologies such as thin-film formation and processing, organic and inorganic materials, optics, analysis, imaging, and software. These technologies have been cultivated in diverse fields including photosensitized materials and xerography.
Fujifilm has taken advantage of these fundamental technologies to generate other core technologies encompassing fine chemicals, electronics, mechatronics and software.
Under the corporate philosophy of contributing to enhancing the quality of life through the ongoing evolution and development of diverse core technologies, we targeted the Medical Systems/Life Sciences business as a growth area for our Second Foundation.
With its more than 70-year history of supplying x-ray films for medical diagnosis, Fujifilm has expanded the scope of the medical diagnostic imaging business to include sonography, endoscopy and nuclear medicine diagnosis, drawing upon our own proprietary imaging technology as well as through M&A.
In 2006, we entered the field of prevention to launch functional skin care cosmetics and nutritional supplements utilizing our anti-oxidation and FTD (Formulation, Targeting, Delivery) technologies along with collagen research.
Fujifilm's technologies applicable to drug discovery
In March 2008, we made a full-fledged entry into the pharmaceutical business by bringing in Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. as a consolidated subsidiary. We intend to expand our pharmaceutical business by creating an innovative drug discovery model based on cross-industrial collaboration. This will combine the organic compound synthetic and analysis technologies of Fujifilm with the outstanding drug discovery capability of Toyama Chemical.
New drug discovery model made possible through synergies between companies in different industries
Topics: FTD technology
The FTD concept refers to the processes of formulating functional ingredients and materials, delivering appropriate doses of them in a timely manner to target areas in fresh and stable conditions for sustained efficacy. This concept includes the use of Fujifilm's hallmark technologies, such as nanoparticle formation technology for turning materials into dispersed and stabilized nanoparticles. By utilizing this technology, Fujifilm is working to create a revolutionary drug delivery system (DDS) for controlling the release of anticancer drugs, etc.