Research & Development Policy
Gunze’s Research & Development Policy
Since its beginning, Gunze’s research and development efforts have focused on processing technologies. At present, with three processing technologies as its core, Gunze promotes the development of new technologies mainly in related high-growth areas. Our R&D environment goes beyond the boundaries of laboratories or fields of study, and is best characterized by its flexible system. This system facilitates cross-application or merging of different technologies, which has led to numerous innovations. In addition to exploring individual technologies and combining them, we also conduct research and development based on the vision of each business division. By so doing, we aim to develop new customers by offering value based on the anticipation of upcoming societal needs.
Areas of Gunze’s Research & Development
At Gunze, our research and development efforts are centered on our core technologies related to three areas of processing—fiber processing, resin processing, and surface processing. Each core technology is broken down to highly advanced and specialized key technologies. Above all, key technologies for cotton (cellulose) modification, physiological design, precision extrusion, dispersive mixing, and coating are Gunze’s core competencies, and are employed in the development of many innovative products. We have also accumulated knowledge and expertise in each technological area through our own development of manufacturing equipment, as well as through the employment of various raw materials. By putting our expertise in different technological areas or cross-divisional knowhow together, we are committed to creating new and more beneficial technologies and products.
Innovation through processing technologies
When creativity and ingenuity align with customer needs, innovations in wellness, medical, and environmental fields result
Director and Corporate Officer
General Manager of the Research & Development Department
“Only Gunze does something like this”
A senior member said this to me when I became involved with a development project. Today as we face radical changes and the company must execute management based on the concept of sustainability, I recalled these words and thought a lot about them again.
Gunze started its involvement with R&D with the aim of supplying silkworm growers with high-quality silkworm eggs. And from that long ago time, our commitment to provide needed quality products whenever and wherever needed has been the cornerstone for all our R&D activity. The company’s roots extend back to silk manufacturing, and from the earliest times, Gunze remained fundamentally a processing company, without involvement in raw materials. Even today our main line of business revolves around the production and supply of products tailored to specific customer requirements, drawing on our multiple creative processing technologies that have proved themselves in our apparel and functional solutions businesses. Not having raw materials, we needed to face the challenge of bringing together different technologies and materials in various ways. This spurred the creation of one-of-a-kind products that position Gunze in an entirely different space from others.
The“Only Gunze does…” phrase I mentioned earlier really has two meanings. If taken in a somewhat negative way, it could mean that it is only the R&D department that does such a strange thing. But a positive take indicates Gunze being a unique company that serves as a source of innovation to create original products that others cannot imitate, meaning that this characteristic is well deserving of further cultivation. The two sides of this phrase are the opposite to each other. I feel that the person who told me this phrase most likely wanted me to understand the importance of both sides of the phrase. And that is how I took his words. The balancing of these two different sides is where our R&D strength lies, and that good balance has made possible some of our mainstay products in various business fields. To enable taking such an approach, Gunze, since the company’s founding, has cultivated the type of R&D environment in which materials engineers actively interact with engineers specializing in machinery and electronics. This made it possible to produce innovative manufacturing equipment not available in other companies, and helped to create products easily distinguishable from others.
Gunze’s products employ a significant amount of petroleum-derived raw materials. Plastic, in particular, is a superior material that has triggered many technological breakthroughs and has a very large footprint in daily living. But a major drawback is its non-biodegradability. This situation demands our maximum effort and this problem is being exacerbated by the widespread use that plastic’s convenience creates. It goes without saying that this major problem cannot be solved by Gunze alone. We need to work together with companies over a wide range of sectors, rising above industrial borders with the concept for “the common good.” While keeping in mind areas needing collaboration and those needing competition, we should take a proactive stance to communicate that plastic is a superior material able to contribute to a sustainable society.
Gunze’s aim is to promote the development of products able to improve people’s quality of life (QOL). Some examples are easily recyclable products that help reduce CO2 emissions and materials for medical equipment. At present, we are focused on developing a polymer current collector for use in the All-Polymer Batteries. This new initiative should represent a significant contribution to solving energy-related issues by providing safer and more efficient energy storage through leveraging plastic’s excellent properties. This type of battery also has the potential for creating a new social infrastructure. Going forward, Gunze will continue to create innovative products while always keeping sustainability in mind.