Streamlining industry by utilizing robots and AI, and city infrastructure maintenance by using cyberspace are fast approaching. Automation and streamlining through AI are expected in the near future.
Nikon selected cooperating partners from the observing, measuring and transmitting fields that have a high affinity with existing businesses. As one of the methods of solving social issues, Nikon initiated a dynamic action plan to achieve open innovation by utilizing external resources.
For example, M&A and alliances such as collaboration with affiliates and external companies, establishing private funds to invest in new ventures, co-operating with innovators, while driving and fostering new business initiatives, as well as collaborating with venture capital partners have been implemented. Through these various actions, Nikon is sowing the seeds of future businesses, accelerating the speed of product development and nurturing the establishment of new businesses.
Nikon is building various alliances such as business/capital tie-ups outside the company including universities, other companies and affiliates, cooperative research, and M&A. Through these various alliances, Nikon is leveraging its strengths to expand the scale and scope of its businesses, including extending its interests to peripheral fields in order to create new business opportunities. In recent years, by entering into business alliances in the Material Processing Business, positioned as a core pillar of new business, we are actively promoting the development of new equipment and the expansion of sales opportunities.
Investment in Unistellar SAS, France
Nikon has made an investment in Unistellar SAS, France (hereinafter Unistellar), a company that handles smart telescopes, via the Nikon-SBI Innovation Fund. Nikon and Unistellar have been working together under a master joint development agreement to provide innovative solutions for the consumer astronomical observation field, and Unistellar has released the "eVscope 2", a smart astronomical telescope. The purpose of this investment is to promote the creation of business synergies for both companies.
Nikon is taking advantage of its optical technologies and knowledge to contribute to the development of science by delivering the excitement of astronomical observation and raising people's interest in the universe together with Unistellar, which is generating remarkable growth.
JAL , JAXA, O-Well, and Nikon Conduct Flight Tests Using an Aircraft with Riblets Applied over its External Paint, a World First
Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (hereinafter "JAL"), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (hereinafter "JAXA"), O-Well Corporation (hereinafter "O-Well"), and Nikon Corporation (hereinafter "Nikon") have been aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by improving aircraft fuel efficiency. The four companies are conducting flight tests using the world's first*1 aircraft with riblets*2 applied over its external paint. Nikon will further promote technological development for practical application by analyzing the durability of the riblet-processed areas and acquiring related data through flight tests totaling 1,500 hours.
Nikon will further advance its business development utilizing riblet-processing technology, and contribute to the realization of a sustainable society through improved fuel efficiency, and reduction of CO2 emissions, etc.
- *1For aircraft in operation as of February 28, 2023, according to JAL, JAXA, O-Well, and Nikon.
- *2Riblet: Fine groove structure inspired by the shape of shark skin which reduces water resistance. The skin friction can be reduced by forming a fine groove structure on the aircraft exterior panel along the air flow during flight of the aircraft.
Acquisition of SLM Solutions Group AG, Germany as a Consolidated Subsidiary
Nikon has acquired the SLM Solutions Group AG (hereinafter "SLM") as a consolidated subsidiary. SLM is one of the world's leading global providers specializing in integrated metal additive manufacturing (hereinafter "metal AM") solutions. Together with SLM, Nikon aims to become a leading global player in the metal AM field by providing speedy and innovative solutions to customers in various industries around the world. Nikon aims to further promote its current Medium-Term Management Plan, which positions the digital manufacturing business as a strategic business.
ANA Green Jet Aircraft Featuring Special Livery to Operate with Nikon's Riblet Film
Nikon has provided All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. (hereinafter "ANA") with a film treated by riblet processing*1, which contributes to improved fuel efficiency in aircraft. ANA will operate the aircraft with the riblet film attached on a trial basis. ANA and Nikon will perform technical validation, test the durability of surfaces covered with the film, and obtain related data. ANA is the first*2 Japanese airline company to operate aircraft with the riblet film attached to the surface of the airframe on a trial basis. Nikon is planning to test the durability of surfaces covered with the film and obtain related data through the operation and technical validation of the aircraft with the riblet film, so as to advance the technological development leading to practical applications.
Nikon will contribute to the realization of a sustainable society by pursuing new business through use of its riblet-processing technology to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.
- *1Riblet processing: Processing to form structures that emulate shark skin on surfaces in contact with fluid, using laser and microfabrication technology. It reduces the friction drag caused by an irregular flow of fluid or gas and improves energy efficiency.
- *2Among aircraft operating as of October 3, 2022, according to ANA.
Conclusion of Memorandum of Understanding for Collaboration with Oxford Nanopore Technologies Limited
Nikon and Oxford Nanopore Technologies Limited (hereinafter Oxford Nanopore) have signed a memorandum of understanding to initiate a technology collaboration. Since Nikon's Healthcare Business is a core part of the organization, the two companies plan to collaborate to bring together Nikon's world-class microscopic imaging solutions with Oxford Nanopore's sequencing technology, for potential deployment in end-to-end workflows within research and healthcare settings. Utilizing technologies that both companies have been cultivating, this will open up many new possibilities in the healthcare field.
Nikon to Acquire Majority Ownership of Morf3D Inc.
Nikon has acquired majority ownership of Morf3D Inc. (hereinafter Morf3D), which is a top-class company in the U.S.A. for contract manufacturing of aerospace and defense industries-related components. One of the new growth businesses that Nikon will focus on, based on the Medium-Term Plan, is the Material Processing Business. By combining the business and customer base of Morf3D with Nikon's precise processing technologies, Nikon aims to further expand the Material Processing Business.
Collaboration with universities, companies and external organizations
Nikon is proactively seeking to collaborate with others. For example, in a joint development program with the IPS cell laboratory at Kyoto University in the field of regenerative medicine, and through participating in the "Smart Cell Processing Project", along with several other companies.
Also, Nikon has established the Nikon Chair of Imaging Science in the University of Tokyo, providing optical education that is directly connected to the industry. This contributes to nurturing engineers who will be able to lead the next-generation optical industry.
Establishment of Nikon Optics and Precision Frontiers Research Department in the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo
Through a sponsorship from Nikon, The University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science (Director General: Toru Okabe, Meguro-ku, Tokyo) has established the Nikon Optics and Precision Frontiers Research Department*1 on April 1, 2023. In addition to contributing to the development of human resources who will lead the next generation of the optical industry, the department aims to create research themes that can lead to social implementation by providing values that the society of the future will demand.
The optical industry is an area in which Japan is extremely competitive, but due to the speed of technological innovation as well as the increased participation of emerging countries, it has become more difficult to maintain the highest competitiveness at a global level. Moreover, as cutting-edge research and technology are sophisticated and diverse, the gap between university optical science research and industrial optical technology is now being addressed. It is with this background that Nikon established an endowed research department at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science in 2006 to provide optical education directly related to industry and to promote the development of human resources.
The newly established Nikon Optics and Precision Frontiers Research Department, which will replace the existing endowed research department, will not only continue to offer lectures with the same existing features while developing human resources, but also make new efforts to create research themes.
In response to diversifying social issues, it is essential to create new values by combining technologies in a synergistic manner and to implement them in society. To effectively realize this, we will promote the integration of Nikon's accumulated optical and precision technologies with technologies from other fields, based on the extensive knowledge of the Institute of Industrial Science of the University of Tokyo. We will also create new research themes through industry-academia collaboration to explore the values that are likely to be demanded by the society of the future.
- *1 Sponsored Research Department: Research departments are established for the purpose of advancing and enriching education and research at the University of Tokyo, to respond to changes in social demands and other requirements related to academics, as well as to promote mobility, internationalization, interdisciplinarity, and openness in the education and research system, with basic expenses covered by funds endowed by individuals or organizations.
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Osaka University/Nikon Imaging Center is established
Nikon and Osaka University have established a Nikon Imaging Center within the university campus. It serves as an open facility and supports researchers in a wide range of fields, such as by allowing them to employ the latest optical microscopes, providing educational programs for improving image analysis technology, and promoting joint research among researchers. This facility is the 10th NIC, but for the first time, in vivo imaging (one of the microscopic imaging methods that can capture the biological processes occurring inside living cells, tissues and organisms in real time) is the main focus. Through supporting research utilizing Nikon products, Nikon aims to contribute to the further development of science and technology.
Nikon and SBI Investment Co., Ltd. have jointly established a private fund to invest in venture companies to create new business, promote nurturing of such businesses, and realize business synergies as a mid/long-term plan.
Nikon is deploying this new fund not only to existing businesses but also to pursue fresh business opportunities by investing in venture companies that can possibly play a future role, with a focus on Japan and North America as well as European and Asian countries.
Nikon SBI Innovation Fund
- Business areas
- Future imaging services business, industrial equipment business, healthcare business, etc.
- Material processing
- Sensing technology
- AI and image processing
- Vision Systems/Robotics
- Digital manufacturing
- Carbon neutral
- Smart City
- Total share (from July 2016 to the end of August 2023)
- Investment to startups in Japan and globally. (new investment: 20 companies, additional investment: 8 cases, under consideration: several other companies)
- Investment in 500 Startups Japan, an organization which searches widely for ventures that are eager to succeed internationally and nurtures them.
- The receiving division takes on an initiative role, examining next-round additional investments and business development while considering and assessing investment companies and business synergy.
Cooperation with venture capital partners
To expand new business operations, Nikon has invested in venture companies in Japan, Europe and the United States, each of which provides Nikon with valuable transaction data and trend information as well as exchanging diverse information at regular meetings. Nikon benefits from its venture business partners' research, comparisons, target company information and future value estimations.
Activities Initiating New Businesses
Nikon actively collaborates with innovative venture companies worldwide that possess strong expertise and promising business plans, supporting business ideas that bring value to society and fostering talent through personnel secondment to these venture companies. Our commitment goes beyond internal growth, encompassing technology exploration, contribution to and providing value in an ever-changing society, and open innovation to drive new business initiatives for the future.
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