Materiality 3 Contributing to the Sustained Development of Science and Industry
Basic Ideas and Visions
To develop science and industry, advanced technology that supports them is essential. The Hitachi High-Tech Group supports the improvement of R&D and production sites productivity, as well as higher product quality by fully utilizing and advancing our "measurement and analysis technology", "automation and control technology", "manufacturing capabilities", thereby contributing to the sustainable development of science and industry. In addition, we help develop the next generation by carrying out social contribution activities utilizing our products.
1. Development of science and technology
By developing and providing electron microscopes that enable high-precision observation and analysis, we will contribute to materials and device engineering and the advancement of testing and research of scientific theory. In addition, through science education support activities using tabletop electron microscopes, we will stimulate children’s interest in science and technology through the activity and will contribute to resolution of social issues such as the loss of interest in science and the advancement of science and technology.
2. Achieving resilience at production sites
Through core technologies related to observation, measurement, and analysis; digital technologies such as AI and IoT; and the analysis and utilization of data collected from each process, we will improve the ef¬ciency of production sites and build a flexible and robust production system. We thus aim to contribute to the improvement of productivity and product quality of manufacturing companies.
Analytical & Medical Solutions
Value Chain Solutions
Core Technology Solutions
Content of Initiative
Action Targets 1 Development of science and technology
Global development of activities to support high-quality science education
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuing to support science education using our tabletop electron microscopes by promoting online classes. In FY2021, classes were provided to approximately 61,800 students globally, and the number of participants in the program increased globally, including Japan and Asia. Of note, the classes for students in the Republic of Azerbaijan was part of an exchange program commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Japan. In cooperation with the Japanese Embassy, we participated as representatives of Japan.
In FY2021, we started a new series of web content, “The World Through an Electron Microscope” featuring stories of students who went on to pursue careers in science after being exposed to tabletop electron microscopes lent to their schools by Hitachi High-Tech. Some of the schools to which we have loaned our equipment have won prizes in science and science education competitions, and we continue to promote our initiatives to communicate the fun of science.
Initiatives toward achievement of the 2024 Mid-term Management Plan
1. Provide material development solutions
Materials Informatics (MI) contributes to the validation of new findings and experiments as well as to the development and provision of new materials by accelerating development speed
MI with AI and simulation technology are expected to be find applications in response to the diversification of material development, such as plastic materials with low environmental impact. In FY2021, Hitachi High-Tech commercialized MI solutions in collaboration with Hitachi, Ltd., which was the first Japanese vendor to establish MI knowledge. MI makes it possible to present candidate formulations and combinations of materials that were not previously conceived, contributing to new knowledge and validating experiments, and enabling simulations that create new materials. Furthermore, MI reduces the raw materials, labor, number, cost, and duration of experiments in materials development. Not only cutting electricity consumption, it also reduces CO2 emissions from upstream to downstream in the supply chain, including those generated from the procurement and transportation of raw materials used in experiments and from the disposal of waste materials generated. While leveraging its manufacturing capabilities and knowledge of resin materials, Hitachi High-Tech will contribute to improving the ability of manufacturers to develop new materials and components. It will also underpin improvement of the level of manufacturing in Japan and enhance productivity, including at small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, we can provide flexible services, such as cloud-based systems that are easy to install and facilitate short-term contracts. In this manner, Hitachi High-Tech will make a broad contribution to the world by enabling a wide variety of companies to use its services.
2. Activities to support science education using tabletop microscopes
Online classes using tabletop electron microscopes and SDG-related teaching materials to provide a global learning environment
We have continued to support science education since the 1990s using our own tabletop electron microscopes. In the future, we will promote activities targeting regions and children who have been difficult to reach with our activities, such as schools on remote islands, free schools, and special-needs classes, and expand opportunities for more children to take classes. After 2022, our goal is to provide classes to 50,000 students per year worldwide, and new teaching materials are being produced to discuss disasters and disaster prevention caused by global environmental changes to encourage understanding of the SDGs. We will also seek to expand the geographic area served. In FY2022, the program will be implemented in three new countries and regions and will continue to be implemented in a total of 15 countries and regions globally from FY2022 onward. Hitachi High-Tech aims to contribute to the development of next-generation researchers who will lead the advancement of science and medical technology by stimulating interest in science and technology and supporting research activities in more countries and regions.
Contribute to medical technology with the TM-series tabletop electron microscopes
We are exploring the potential of applying our tabletop electron microscopes, which are used for quality inspections in LiB manufacturing, to the medical field. Transmission electron microscopes are now used to observe biopsy specimens of a patient’s kidneys and other organs. While transmission electron microscopes provides high-resolution images, it requires advanced knowledge and techniques for sample preparation and image analysis, and it can take several weeks to confirm a diagnosis. Meanwhile tabletop electron microscopes are easy to operate and allow observation of biopsy sections for optical microscopes without special pretreatment. Taking advantage of this feature, if a tabletop electron microscope can be used for diagnosis, a significant reduction in examination time can be expected. Another advantage is that thicker specimens can be observed, allowing for a three-dimensional view of the shape and more detailed observation of microstructural changes. Tabletop electron microscopes offer the potential to quickly provide the information necessary for diagnosis. As such Hitachi High-Tech is working toward the application of tabletop electron microscopes technology in medicine at an early juncture.
Action Targets 2 Achieving resilience at production sites
Provide digital engineering solutions to improve productivity at manufacturing sites
By providing IoT systems and manufacturing execution systems (MES) to manufacturers, we help share information at design and manufacturing sites to improve the accuracy of pre-verification, improve equipment layout, and clarify work instructions. We also provide PLM solutions*1 that centrally manage data from manufacturing sites and contribute to operational efficiency on the factory floor. The Hitachi High-Tech Group is also developing an AR*2 solution to improve the efficiency of work instructions at overseas sites. When realized, this will enable work instructions to be presented in a way that is easy to understand by anyone, contributing to error reduction on the manufacturing front lines.
※1 PLM (Product Lifecycle Management): This refers to the management of information in a series of processes from product planning, design, production, sales, and disposal with the aim of maximizing profits.
※2 Augmented reality
Initiatives toward achievement of the 2024 Mid-term Management Plan
3. Provide manufacturing and inspection solutions that enable highly efficient semiconductor production
Establishment of US technology innovation support base for semiconductor manufacturing to promote solutions to customers’ technological and management issues, contributing to improved semiconductor productivity
In the semiconductor field, which supports today’s digital society, the production of advanced logic semiconductors has reached the realm of national strategy and security. To accelerate development, defect detection, analysis, and countermeasures must be carried out with certainty and speed. In the manufacture of semiconductors, Hitachi High-Tech provides equipment covering processing, inspection, and measurement processes. Currently, we are collaborating with customer semiconductor manufacturer to monitor data from each piece of equipment we provide in the semiconductor manufacturing process and are trialing an initiative to inspect products and detect equipment abnormalities while manufacturing. Once perfected, this integrated solution will reduce semiconductor development time, cost, and power consumption, while also improving productivity. In August 2022, we expect to complete construction of a new integrated development facility, the Process Engineering Center, in the United States. With the completion of this facility, we will further promote our integrated solution and contribute to the production of high-performance, low-cost semiconductors, thereby contributing to the advancement of the digital society by improving and stabilizing industrial productivity.
4. Promote the SCPaaS (Supply Chain Platform as a Service) business
Aiming to improve the efficiency of production sites and the quality of operations and the entire supply chain by providing high quality audits and inspections of manufacturing suppliers
Hitachi High-Tech is partnering with TRIGO Group, one of the world’s most advanced quality providers, to improve the quality of audits and inspections of suppliers. In 2021, TRIGO dispatched its local staff to our suppliers in China to identify, audit, and inspect their operations. The advantage to Hitachi High-Tech of utilizing TRIGO is that audits and inspections are conducted from a third-party perspective based on clear audit criteria, allowing for standardization of operations and visualization of previously unseen costs. This will accelerate digitalization and improve management. It also contributes to production efficiency and product quality by reducing transportation costs and inspection processes that would otherwise be incurred in the case of returns. Furthermore, this relationship can flexibly address the issue of staffing resource shortages in the audit and inspection departments. The service will be introduced to other Hitachi Group companies in FY2023 and will be available to companies outside the Hitachi Group in FY2024. By improving the quality of our customers’ suppliers, Hitachi High-Tech will contribute to improving the efficiency of its customers’ production sites and product quality, as well as the operational and product quality of individual companies in the supply chain.