The AGC Group’s R&D Structure
The development of new materials, processes, and equipment in the AGC Group is the responsibility of the Technology General Division, which creates new technologies in collaboration with the technology development divisions of in-house companies. The Technology General Division continually takes on the challenge of creating new technological value with the aim of realizing a sustainable society and meeting the needs of our customers, while working closely with the organizations responsible for intellectual property utilization, business development, and overall business process innovation.
The Planning Division is responsible for planning and implementing AGC's corporate technology strategy with the aim of strengthening and expanding existing businesses and creating new businesses. The division promotes open innovation initiatives with external parties, such as industry-government-academia collaborations, as well as collaboration with internal and external parties by acting as the liaison between the Technology General Division and each in-house company. AGC has been actively utilizing the AGC Open Square (AO) collaborative space in the AGC Yokohama Technical Center as a forum for collaboration with external parties since November 2020. We are also working to achieve smarter development and digital transformation (DX) by incorporating AI, materials informatics (MI), and other digital technologies. Furthermore, the AGC Group's unique Global Technology Networking (GTNET) activities allow it to obtain information on innovative technologies and markets in other countries, and to make proposals for the creation of new businesses, the enhancement of existing businesses, and development strategies.
Innovative Technology Laboratories—Providing continual support for AGC through the dissemination of innovative fundamental technologies
The mission of the Innovative Technology Laboratories is to explore the fundamental principles of science and ultimately to apply them on mass-production lines. It fulfills this mission by using assets ranging from laboratory equipment through to pilot facilities to develop basic technologies to support AGC’s future success, including glass melting, molding, and processing, organic and inorganic chemical processes, analysis, evaluation and simulation methods, and IT. The division also contributes to AGC’s efforts to create new value by working toward the goal of net zero carbon emissions through the development of carbon-free glass manufacturing processes, and by accelerating the digitalization of composite business processes in preparation for digital transformation (DX).
Materials Integration Laboratories—Innovation and new product creation through collaboration within and beyond the AGC Group
Many years of research activities as AGC’s hub for materials innovation have enabled the Materials Integration Laboratories to build extensive resources of knowledge based on the convergence of various technologies, including material technologies ranging from organic and inorganic materials to the life science field, as well as unique functional designs based on combinations of these technologies. Its mission is to create new business and new products by deepening and enhancing these technology resources, and by integrating diverse technologies from both within and outside AGC.
The Materials Integration Laboratories will continue to offer new products and solutions that exceed customer expectations by actively pursuing open innovation with partners within and outside of the AGC Group, and by accumulating and deepening new technologies through the efforts of research staff with advanced qualifications in various fields. It is contributing to the enhancement of AGC’s social value from a technology development perspective by addressing various social issues, including energy- and environment-related issues.
Production Technology Division—Building competitiveness through the creation of differentiated production systems and support for manufacturing sites
The tasks of Production Technology Division range from the development and improvement of processing technologies and equipment and plant engineering technologies, through to the design, installation, and maintenance of production systems. This unit handles a wide range of tasks, from the development of cutting-edge glass melting and molding equipment to the start-up of overseas plants and the maintenance and improvement of productivity at manufacturing facilities. By seamlessly integrating both internal and external process development and plant engineering technologies to achieve collaboration from the design and development stage, the Production Technology Division helps to accelerate the development of advanced technologies and the achievement of competitiveness in terms of both quality and costs. The division is also working to improve the productivity of manufacturing sites by implementing effective measures in collaboration with manufacturing and business divisions. The Production Technology Division will contribute both to the development of technology, and to the enhancement of AGC’s business performance through further improvement of its production base.
Float Technology Promotion Division
The Float Technology Promotion Division is responsible for the development and coordination of the float process technology and expertise platform accumulated by AGC through its many years of involvement in flat glass manufacturing.
The tasks of the Float Technology Promotion Division include the further stabilization and enhancement of the process, as well the utilization and training of human resources in flat glass manufacturing from a company-wide perspective. In addition, it is working on cross-organizational initiatives to facilitate the use of ICT and AI to create smart factories.
Intellectual Property Division
The Intellectual Property Division acquires and utilizes intellectual property rights, such as patents and trademarks, resulting from intellectual assets created through corporate activities. It also pursues activities leading to the continuous generation of business revenue.
In addition to traditional processes, such as applying for and obtaining patents, this unit also formulates and implements intellectual property strategies targeted toward the achievement of business advantages. It also promotes and implements company-wide standardization activities in preparation for industry initiatives.
Business Development Division
The Business Development Division contributes to the continuous growth of AGC by proposing and promoting new businesses through marketing and business incubation, leading to the transfer of businesses to in-house companies.
In addition to its role in expanding the range of promising materials identified from macro trends, the Business Development Division is also responsible for commercialization planning for projects that would be difficult for in-house companies or strategic business units (SBUs) to handle. It proposes and promotes new businesses in collaboration with various organizations, including in-house companies, SBUs, and the Technology General Division, as well as external organization, including M&A, joint venture, and joint development partners. In addition to its activities in Japan, Business Development Division also engages in global new business development activities in collaboration with AGC Business Development America, AGC China, and other organizations.
Digital & Innovation Promotion Division
The Digital & Innovation Promotion Division strives to further strengthen the "Operational Excellence" initiatives that the AGC Group has cultivated to date, and accelerate "Innovation" initiatives globally through digital transformation (DX).
Through the utilization and development of cutting-edge digital technology and establishing a digital platform, we are strengthening the AGC Group's DX strategy and execution, securing and training human resources to promote DX. In addition, by rooting various business know-how, IT tools, IE, data science and other "skills" in the AGC Group, and leveraging these "skills" and "technologies" such as the latest digital technology and digital tools, we provide support for productivity innovation tailored to various business needs: productivity improvement at the manufacturing sites, human resources development to promote improvement, supply chain optimization support, sales and marketing business design, support for mass production of new businesses, discovery of new business partners, solving organizational issues, and work style reforms.