March 8, 2012
The “Environmental and Energy Revolution,” which aims to achieve the low carbon society, is happening on a global scale amid the escalation of environmental problems including global warming, and energy problems such as the depletion of fossil resources. Meanwhile, in Japan, the environmental and energy problems have turned into an urgent issue due to the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In 2010, we announced our medium-term management plan, New Frontier 2012, where we outlined several measures for creating new business. Now, we are initiating organizational change as of March 16 and April 1, to cultivate new businesses and to promote commercial development. By restructuring the organization, we aim to accelerate commercial development and to contribute to resolving the environmental and energy problems.
1. Establishing the New Business Promotion Department
~ Aiming to accelerate commercial development by expanding incubation functions ~
As of April 1, we will set up the New Business Promotion Department as an organization under the direct control of the President. We will expand the incubation function(note 1) to promote new business and early-stage commercial development.
In the New Business Promotion Department (below, this organization), the head of the department will have several full-time staff and all development projects will be under their control. The functions of this organization include securing personnel for marketing, production technology and quality assurance, joining with developers to investigate and draft market entry strategies and commercialization strategies, ascertaining winning technologies, and planning the commercial production schedule. This organization will also secure the necessary funds and facilities to accomplish projects and support more seamless and swifter business start-up.
By setting up this organization, Furukawa Electric will quickly bring numerous projects in the pipeline to commercial development and delivery to our customers. We will speed up the supply of new products that can contribute to the environmental society where we expect to see progress in the future, and by pinpointing customer needs and promoting efficient development, we will bring competitive products to market in good time.
Positioning of the New Business Promotion Department
(Note 1)Incubation function : A modification of incubation in the sense of hatching eggs, the incubation function refers to building something up from zero. In this press release, it refers to support for new business startups.
2. Establishing the High-Temperature Superconductivity Business Development Team
~ Promoting wire and equipment development, and reinforcing marketing functions ~
As of April 1, the Research & Development Division will separate the development department for high-temperature superconductivity from the Power & System Laboratories, to set up the independent “High-Temperature Superconductivity Business Development Team” (below, HTS Team) as an organization under the direct control of the head of the Research & Development Division.
On February 3, the Furukawa Electric Group acquired SuperPower Inc., a manufacturer with capability for commercial production of second generation high-temperature superconducting wire. Making the most of this opportunity in the midst of the trends to innovate energy infrastructures, we will provide high-temperature superconducting wires for Smart Grids where global growth is expected, for the renewable energy field including sunlight, solar heat, and wind power, and for a range of societal and industrial fields. By developing and implementing applied equipment, we alsoaim to aggressively expand the business.
Internally, the High-Temperature Superconductivity Business Development Team will have the Applied Superconductivity Research Department, and will develop second generation high-temperature superconducting wire, practical applications for superconducting power cables, and applied equipment with a focus on electrical equipment. At the same time, we will establish a “Market Development Group” to boost the marketing of high-temperature superconductivity. Through the activities of the HTS team, we will contribute to achieving the energy-saving society by promoting the development and application of superconductivity technology and by aiming for a full-scale launch of the market for high-temperature superconductivity.
3. Establishing the Offshore Wind Power Project Team
~ Boosting the development of submarine cables ~
For the field of underwater resource development (offshore wind power, tidal power, development of seabed resources) where global growth is expected, the Energy Division set up the “Offshore Wind Power Project Team” on March 16 to reinforce the structure for developing submarine cables based on technologies held by the Group for designing, manufacturing and laying submarine cables.
As transmitters of electrical power, submarine cables play an important function with no substitute in the field of marine resource development (offshore wind power, tidal power, development of seabed resources) where global growth is expected. For example, we believe that the future will bring an increasing demand for “long term” and “high voltage” connections to the floating structures seen in offshore floating wind farms.
Since the flexible submarine cables (below, riser cables) that transmit power and signals to floating structures are suspended in the sea, they are used under severe conditions where they are constantly battered by the waves and the tides. Since these cables are required to provide the assurance of a reliable supply of power by tracking the movements of the floating structure without damaging the features or service life of the cable even with dynamic behavior, they require a high technical capability unlike the average fixed submarine cables.
At Furukawa Electric, we have accumulated a series of technologies from designing to laying riser cable at offshore oil fields and by laying cables to supply electricity and control underwater search equipment. The Project Team will promote development by playing a central role and strengthening links to the related departments, and aims to boost the competitive strength of the business and to contribute to society.
Please refer to the press release published today.