Corporate HistoryHistory of the Electronic Components Division
Gunze has tremendous name recognition as an apparel manufacturer, but we also have a more than 25-year history as a manufacturer of touch panels, with an established track record as a pioneer in the industry. This is our background...
Gunze the apparel manufacturer
Gunze was founded to develop regional industry through the promotion of sericulture (silk-reeling), the local industry of Ikaruga-gun (presently Ayabe City) in Kyoto where the company was established in 1896. Since then, we have been engaged in a variety of businesses, centered around the fiber and textile industry. With changing times there was a marked decline of demand in the silk-reeling industry, and it was replaced by the apparel business of knitted goods, typified by underwear and pantyhose. Gunze has a brand image as an innerwear manufacturer, but throughout our history we have cultivated more than just the apparel business. We have also actively worked toward in-house development of packaging films to wrap those apparel products.
Transparent conductive films developed fromfilms for pantyhose packaging
Efforts to develop and manufacture these packaging films later became our plastic film business, and as an application of that technology, we also started developing functional plastic films.
We intend to develop Gunze as a lifestyleculture industry, through expansion intonon-textile fields while striving for a more comprehensive presence in apparel.
This was the idea we advocated as our business vision for the 1990s. Establishing new businesses was a top priority for our business management. Therefore, in our Plastics Division, we began full-fledged research on high-functionality resins and new processing technologies in 1980 as part of our search for new business fields. One concept which emerged from that process was transparent conductive films. With the dissemination of video consumer electronics such as video decks, we conducted research and development on transparent conductive films—an effort which started in anticipation of growth in the electronics industry. As our basic approach, we repeatedly evaluated various functions such as durability, even though these are part of secondary processing for plastic films, and commenced full-scale production in 1986. We began sales of G-TEC, a revolutionary functional film that allows both light and current to pass.
Gunze’s growth strategy of creating new businesses from applications of existing businesses
Manufacturing technology for functional plastics was later applied not only to offer film materials, but also to manufacturing of touch panels in the Electronic Components Division of Gunze from 1985. Development of outstanding functional films is indispensable for the evolution of touch panels. We have also successfully developed functional films with a variety of properties, such as durability, heat resistance, fingerprint resistance, and low reflection, and that's where we are today. In developing new businesses, Gunze’s aim is “business fields where we have some base in our existing management resources, and whose core is high-level technology that will drive innovation in industrial society.” The efforts of our Electronic Components Division to manufacture touch panels, originally conceived as an application of packaging films, are a business born of Gunze’s long-term growth strategy of creating new businesses from applications of existing businesses. That idea is the foundation of our company's business today, not only in the Electronic Components Division, but also in areas such as development of medical materials with bioabsorbability, and the field of high-functionality plastics (engineering plastics) including business like manufacturing antistatic belts.