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Activities in the Optical Device Business

 

Note: The article on this page is taken from Sustainability Report 2009.

Meeting a Wide Range of Needs through Advanced Technologies as a Leader in the Age of Higher Image Quality

Lenses for cell phones with cameras, lenses for TV cameras, lenses for digital cameras, and lenses for security cameras.
We enjoy top shares in these growth markets in which demand is increasing globally by producing products that meet the needs for high-definition images.

Highly value-added and high-performance products created through unique opt-mechatronics

[Photo]Takeshi Higuchi Director, Senior Vice President General Manager of Optical Device Business Division FUJIFILM Corporation

Takeshi Higuchi
Director, Senior Vice President General Manager of Optical Device Business Division FUJIFILM Corporation

The Fujifilm Group’s optical device business started in 1944 has been constantly improving its technologies to design, process, and assemble optical devices such as binoculars and still cameras. As lenses, essential to producing various images, constitute the center of our business, the research and development, manufacture and sale divisions work in close coordination to further promote our optical business. In recent years, the Fujifilm Group has developed its technologies as “opt-mechatronics,” combining its optical, mechanical and electronic technologies, thereby delivering more advanced and valued added products. Moreover, our business strategy has been to focus on products for which we can win the number one share using our unique advanced technologies, and actually we enjoy top shares for the lenses used in cell phones with high-definition cameras (at least two million pixels) and TV cameras, as well as for lenses used in security devices such as security cameras.

Flexibly polishing glass and molding plastics for different applications and in different sizes

In the manufacture of lenses, both glass and plastic are used. Glass is polished and plastic is molded with special technologies. For this reason, in the lens manufacturing industry, division of labor and outsourcing are taken for granted. However, we have all the technologies required for the treatment and processing of the materials, and as our strong point, have been responsible for product development, design, molding, manufacture, and inspection in an integrated manner. As manufacturing lenses for QuickSnap, we acquired the technology needed to mass-produce small lenses of high performance, which give us a big competitive advantage.

Using all these strengths, the Fujifilm Group successfully developed lenses for cell phone cameras as its representative product. Early in the 2000s, soon after the cell phone camera market was launched, we began developing highly value-added lenses for the phones, predicting that high-quality and highly functional lenses would be needed in the future, although the image quality of 100,000 to 300,000 pixels was the standard for cell phone cameras at that time. Now that an image quality of three million pixels is becoming the standard, we are far and away the top maker of high-performance lenses in the three million-pixel or higher image quality. In order to ensure that photos are taken at a high definition exceeding three million pixels, multiple lenses need to be combined. We reduced the number of lenses used by introducing complex-shaped aspheric lenses, thereby achieving a downsizing. What is more, we can produce a stable supply of several million products each month-an incredibly large number.

Achieving outstanding cost competitiveness by building a robust production system comprising Chinese bases

Manufacturers of parts that are used in products sold in very large quantities across the world such as cell phones and security cameras need to be cost competitive in addition to having the ability to produce stable supplies of high-performance products. The Fujifilm Group has been preparing for this type of market its since early days. In 1994 FUJINON (now, Fujifilm) launched a production base in Tianjin and established one more in Shenzhen in 2001, and is now processing and assembling lens units at the bases 24 hours a day. As the scale of production expands, the stable procurement of optical materials usually becomes more difficult, but we have already established a system for stable procurement by investing in a Chinese company that has the world’s largest glass furnace and by concluding a preferential supply agreement with that company.

Our robust product system can produce stable supplies of manufactured products, and in order to ensure the precision of the products, we are implementing drastic measures to manage quality at our Chinese bases as strictly as in Japan.

While strengthening the sales power to expand its products' market share to reach the top, the optical device divisions in the Fujifilm Group will increase value to its products by incorporating their lens units into camera modules through stronger cooperation with other divisions related to electronic imaging devices such as digital cameras. The Fujifilm Group aims to expand its optical device business even more through this kind of cooperation.

[Photo]Security lenses

Security lenses

[Photo]Cine lenses

Cine lenses

[Photo]Cell phone lenses

Cell phone lenses


[Photo]Digital camera lenses

Digital camera lenses

[Photo]Projector lenses

Projector lenses

[Photo]High-definition TV lenses

High-definition TV lenses


Strategy

Lenses for security and in-vehicle cameras are expected to become growth markets

[Photo]Takahiro Amano Operating Manager, Corporate Public Relations, Employees Welfare General Administration Department FUJINON Corporation (as of 2008)

Takahiro Amano
Operating Manager,
Corporate Public Relations,
Employees Welfare General
Administration Department
FUJINON Corporation (as of 2008)

In the world of optical devices, higher-quality images and digitization are becoming the two keywords. As FUJINON lenses obtain a competitive edge, this trend is favorable. In addition to lenses used in broadcast cameras and cell phones cameras, lenses for security and in-vehicle cameras are expected to become growth markets for us.

We are already enjoying a top share globally for lenses for security cameras, but we will make even more efforts to increase our share by meeting the needs for higher definition and super-telephotographic cameras. In addition, there is an increasing demand for high-precision vein authentication in the field of personal recognition systems, and so we are now finding ourselves in a business environment where we can fully display our technological capabilities.

The introduction of lenses for in-vehicle cameras has just started for rear monitoring and front viewing systems. In the future, however, it is said that at least 10 cameras will be installed onboard a vehicle to ensure driving safety, and so we are committed to developing in-vehicle camera lenses in cooperation with automakers, particularly in fields where we can utilize our high-quality image technologies.

In-vehicle camera lenses that use the Fujifilm Group’s optical lenses

[figure]In-vehicle camera lenses that use the Fujifilm Group’s optical lenses

Note: The article on this page is taken from Sustainability Report 2009.



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