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CSR

CSR Integrated Report

Fujikura Group CSR Integrated Report 2014
[ISO 26000 Core Subject] Organizational Governance

Research and Development

Research and Development

Research and Development

Environmental and energy-related technologies developed by Fujikura Ltd.

The 21st century is called the century of the environment and energy. The development of new technologies in the environment and energy fields is becoming increasing important for the promotion of a sustainable harmonic relationship between the global environment and human society. This is indeed one of the missions of a manufacturing company. We are working on research and development in this field. In the wire and cable domain, we have been responding to the needs of the times with various innovations in traditional technologies. Developments in recent years include lead-free and halogen-free additives, RoHS and REACH compliant materials, flame retardants, small diameter cables, and high-speed transmission cables. We have also worked on the R&D of dye sensitized solar cells and direct methanol fuel cells, which are attracting much attention as new standalone power sources that can be installed at places not suitable for wired power sources and batteries. We at Fujikura Ltd. will continue to take on the challenge of developing technologies that are friendly to both the environment and people. The following shows three examples of our environmental and energy technologies.

tanabe

Nobuo Tanabe
Head of the Environment and Energy Laboratory

Eco-friendly flameproof resin material

Fujikura Ltd. has been developing a compound for eco-friendly highly flameproof sheets by applying the flameproof technology it has developed for electric wire coating materials. At present, vinyl chloride resin is widely used as a material for flameproof sheets but, when burned in the event of a fire, the resin generates chlorine gas, which is hazardous to human health, while also generating large amounts of black smoke. The eco-friendly resin developed by Fujikura does not contain halogens, such as chlorine and bromine, and displays high flame resistance. It will generate no black smoke even when burned and the amount of smoke generated will also be quite small. Moreover the developed resin has low density, and is based on polyolefin, which has a low unit CO2 emission. It is therefore highly recyclable, environment-friendly with smaller CO2 emissions, and is also very safe from the perspective of human health.

Sheet made by using the eco-friendly highly flameproof compound

Sheet made by using the eco-friendly highly flameproof compound

Burning test

Burning test
Left: Eco-friendly highly flameproof sheet
Right: Vinyl chloride sheet

Dye sensitized solar cells

Dye sensitized solar cells generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction, which is a reaction similar to the photosynthesis of plants. These cells can be manufactured without using much energy and with eco-friendly technologies. They are effective for use on cloudy/rainy days and in places with no direct sunshine. In particular, indoors, the power generation capacity of the cells is double or more than double that of amorphous silicon solar cells. Recently technology called “energy harvesting” has been attracting much attention, and dye sensitized solar cells embody this technology. The use of these cells will eliminate the need to use wires and batteries for various sensors and security devices, and a range of applications have already begun to be developed for the cells.

Dye sensitized solar cells

Sensor node (temperature, humidity and motion sensor) in which dye sensitized solar cells are used

Direct methanol fuel cells

Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) use diluted methanol as fuel, and function as a dynamo. Compared with general dynamos, a DMFC is low-noise and compact, and uses diluted liquid fuel, which is safer and easier for handling. The fuel can also be stored for a long time without degradation and does not freeze at low temperatures. Fujikura Ltd. has developed a portable DMFC with the world’s highest output of 1kW, and as a result contributed to expanding the application of DMFCs. For example, the fuel cells are expected to be used as emergency power generators for a range of important equipment in the event of earthquakes and other disasters that might cause long-term blackouts, and also as power sources for special vehicles including forklifts, commercial aircraft and others.

Direct methanol fuel cells

1kW direct methanol fuel cell developed by Fujikura

New Products and Technologies

◆Fujikura Starts Supplying 1500V DC Cable to Photovoltaic Power Facilities

Characteristics of 1500V DC SOLAR-CQ
Characteristics of 1500V DC SOLAR-CQ

In the past, 600 V low-tension cables were commonly used in photovoltaic power facilities,such as mega solar power stations.
However, with the growing demand for cables of increased capacitance, application of 1500V DC cable with conductor size up to 38 mm2 has been approved under the electrical equipment technical standards interpretation of Article 46, Paragraph (1) only for a photovoltaic power facility where entry is limited to engineers.

Fujikura has commercialized "1500 V DC SOLAR-CQ" and started to supply it from last year.
This cable is thinner and more compact than the existing 600 V low-tension cable and has excellent workability.
As bridging materials are used for both the insulator and the sheath, this cable has excellent heat resistance and weather resistance, and has long-term reliability suitable for a photovoltaic power plant.
Fujikura's 1500 V DC SOLAR-CQ can support not only single fiber type but also various requirements, such as single fiber twisted-pair type,duplex fiber type, and corrugated sheath type.
Fujikura can also supply 1500 V DC SOLAR-CQ with a connector.Because of its superior characteristics, this cable has won orders for large mega solar facilities.
We will deliver about 100 km of cable through the first half of 2013.

【Characteristics of 1500V DC SOLAR-CQ】

  • Reduced power transmission loss compared with 600V low-tension cable
  • No shielding, and compact compared with a high-tension cable

 

◆Power Cables Delivered to Nation's Largest-Scale Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant

Fujikura has delivered a number of cables to *the nation's largest power plant, Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant, which started to sell power to a utility through Kyudenko Corporation on November 1, 2013. Kyudenko invested in the business as a power generator that takes on the construction and operation and maintenance of the plant.
The construction work required energy savings and greater efficiency since as many as about 290,000 solar panels were installed in the vast premises.
To meet the requirements, many of the delivered power cables have a corrugated steel-sheathed structure, which enables the cables to be buried underground directly and resistant to termites.

Fujikura has worked on the commercialization of 1,500V DC SOLAR-CQ 60mm2 ahead of all others in accordance with the revision of the electrical equipment technical standards interpretation of Article 46, Paragraph (1).
We contribute to the proliferation of various renewable energy by offering distinctive products suitable for solar power plants.

*Among solar power plants in operation as of November 4, 2013 (Researched by Kyocera Corporation)

Corrugated-steel sheathed cable
Corrugated-steel sheathed cable

【Outline of Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega-Solar Power Plant】

・Power generation capacity :Solar power generation system 70MW
・Location :2-chome Nanatsujima Kagoshima city, Kagoshima
・Land area :About 1.27million m2
・Amount of power generation :About 78,800 MWh
  Equivalent of power consumed by about 22,000 households
  Contributing to reductions in 25,000 tons of CO2
・Total investment amount :About 27billion yen

【Main delivered products】

Products Rough Estimate of cable length
High-voltage cable 23km
Low-voltage cable 18km
Optical fiber cable 22km
Communication and instrumentation cable 25km

 

◆Development of Eco Wires and Cables with Low Smoke Emission and Excellent Flame Retardancy

eco wires and cables
Eco wires and cables

Fujikura has developed eco wires and cables that have achieved both high flame retardancy and lightened environmental load at the same time.
Since the wires and cables are used in our everyday surroundings, high flame retardancy is desirable in terms of disaster prevention.
In particular, the wires and cables used in buildings, underground establishments, and enclosed spaces such as in a vehicle must possess excellent flame retardancy.
Meantime, demand for high environmental safety is increasing in the face of heightened effort to reduce risks of chemical damage to the environment and to the human body as outlined in measures such as REACH and RoHS.

To achieve high flame retardancy, retardants are added to the wire and cable sheath.Halogen-based flame retardants possess high retardancy.
In terms of environmental and safety aspects, however, there is a risk of generating hazardous substances when combusted and/or a risk of interfering with visibility in the event of a disaster, due to the black smoke generated.
On the otherhand, it is speculated that phosphorus-based flame retardants may disturb the environmental hormone balance.
In search of the solutions to these issues, we have been working on cables with metal hydrate flame retardants.
However, a large quantity of the retardants had to be added to achieve the high flame retardancy.
Because the mechanical strength (scratch and tear resistances) is reduced by addition of a large quantity of flame retardants, obtaining high mechanical strength and flame retardancy simultaneously has been a challenge.

Fujikura has developed a technology to effectively stop combustion by strengthening the shell formed on the surface of the sheath upon combustion (a basic patent granted). With this technology, we were able to reduce the amount of flame retardants added to the sheath, thus achieving both high flame retardancy and mechanical strength.
In addition, the shell contributes to low smoke emission by suppressing the generation of gases. The product is lighter due to the smaller specific gravity of the sheath.
Fujikura will contribute to the disaster prevention and environmental load reduction by introducing these new eco wires and cables to buildings, residential houses, tunnels, underground establishments, automobiles, trains, planes, and ships.

【Features】

  • No environmental load substances contained.
  • The vertical flame test passed with high level of flame retardancy.
  • No hazardous gases are generated upon combustion.
  • Low smoke emission
  • High mechanical strength (scratch resistance and tear resistance)

 

◆Launch of Optical Fiber Fusion Splicers 70R, 19R, and 19S

Optical Fiber Fusion Splicers 70R
Optical Fiber Fusion Splicers 70R

With the continuous pursue of quality in optical fiber construction, Fujikura launched new optical fiber fusion splicers-70R, 19R and 19S-achieving "User Friendly, Durability and High Reliability" in July.
Following the launch of the single fiber core alignment fusion splicer 70S in April, the three new models below are now available in the market.

【Main features of 70R, 19R, and 19S】

 

◆High power Dye-sensitized Solar Cell Module for Indoor Use

Dye-sensitized solar cells are capable of efficiently generating power even under diffused light or low light conditions.

Fujikura has developed a dye-sensitized solar cell module that can generate electric power about double that generated by conventional amorphous solar cells under indoor light between 100 and 2,000 lux.

This dye-sensitized solar cell module has light absorption characteristics suitable for indoor light such as fluorescent light and LED light and thus efficiently provides electric power under a variety of light conditions from those of a warehouse less than 100 lux to a showroom more than 1000 lux.
Therefore, such photovoltaic cell module receives attention as the most suitable one for the energy harvesting field that allows small devices including sensors to work without wiring or changing batteries.
The module can operate sensors that detect temperature and humidity, presence of people, and CO2 concentration under indoor light. Currently, we provide two kinds of sample modules for evaluation.

Our dye-sensitized module is manufactured by a printing method, which offers great flexibility to design.

In addition to that, the module also allows flexibility to choice as it can optimally convert from light to electric power by changing dyes or electrolyte to fit the service conditions including incident light amounts and the types of light sources.

Business-card- size 4 Series Module

Business-card- size 4 Series Module

Passport -size 8 Series Module

Passport -size 8 Series Module

 

◆Yttrium-based High Temperature Superconductor Development of 66kV, World's Largest Current, Low-loss, Superconducting Power Cable

66kV Y-based High Temperature Superconducting Cable
66kV Y-based High Temperature Superconducting Cable

High temperature superconducting (HTS) wires, typified by Y-based superconductors, are capable of having zero resistance in low-cost liquid nitrogen (boiling point: 77 K (-196℃).
Expectations are running high that utilizing the characteristics of the wire will lead to the practical use of extremely low transmission loss HTS cables.
HTS cables allow reductions of necessary facilities for cooling compared to low temperature superconducting cables, resulting in reduced cooling costs.

In 2012, Fujikura successfully developed a 66kV large-current low-loss superconducting power cable in cooperation with International Superconductivity Technology Center.
This development was conducted under the project, "Materials and Power Applications of Coated Conductors (M-PACC)", of New Energy and industrial Development Organization (NEDO).
The project is was led by Yu Shiohara, the director general of Superconductivity Research Laboratory, International Superconductivity Technology Center.

This cable uses a Y-based superconducting wire and allows the world's largest-class 5kA current to transport.

The cable's transmission loss less than one quarter that of a power cable in current use was verified experimentally.
In the past, no verification test was conducted on the superconducting cables through which a current as large as 5 kA can run because the volume production of high-performance wires was technically difficult.
This time, we constructed a 66kV test cable, 20 m in total length, using the Y-based superconducting wire, transported 5kA current, the largest level for a power cable, through the test cable and evaluated the AC loss under close-to-actual conditions.
The AC loss was less than 1 W/m a phase when a current of 5kA was transported.
This value of AC loss less than 1 W/m a phase with 5 kA current means that the transmission loss is reduced to less than a quarter of that of a currently-used power cable (154 kV, 600 MVA class) with consideration of its cooling efficiency.
These test results show that superconducting power cables are significantly effective in enhancing the efficiency of power systems.
Fujikura will further develop HTS coils and magnets with the aim of putting them to practical use in promising industrial and medical equipment by continuously promoting the development of the high-performance wire.

We will also work on the fundamental cable technologies that are expected not only to improve power transmission efficiency but significantly reduce the building costs of power distribution facilities to contribute to low carbon society.

 

◆Sales Launch of World-first 4kW Reflection-resistant Fiber Laser

4kW Fiber Laser
4kW Fiber Laser

Fujikura is pleased to announce the release of a world-first 4kW multimode fiber laser having high resistance to back reflected light.

A fiber laser is a laser whose gain medium is an optical fiber.
A fiber laser has superior features including beam quality to those of conventional lasers and rapidly find widespread use in various materials processing fields.
High-power lasers, in particular, have started to be put into the automotive market and the machine tool market since the lasers moved up in the processability of materials that CO2 lasers are not good at processing.

However, there has been a problem that reflected light from work in process causes fiber lasers to stop or to go out of order.
Fujikura's new high-power fiber laser has improved resistance to light reflections to solve the problem.
The achievement was accomplished by integrating our proprietary technologies of optical fibers, optical components, high-power semiconductor lasers, and cooling into one technology.
The product, which offers stable machinability and high reliability, has already been well received by many customers.
We will continue to strive to meet a variety of customer needs and provide new solutions.

【Features】

  • Enhanced reflection-resistant features by applying our own optical fiber and optical component technologies
  • Achievement of maximum output of 4kW by employing OPTENERGY Inc.-made high-power semiconductor laser
  • Ensuring of high quality and high reliability using Fujikura-made main components

 

◆SCE-certified Connector with Lead Cable for EV Fast Charger

External Appearance of CE-certified Connector
External Appearance of CE-certified Connector

CHAdeMO DC fast chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) are installed in service areas of highways, gas stations and other places.
CHAdeMO Association*1 (President: Toshiyuki Shiga of Nissan Motor Co., LTD) works on getting the system into worldwide use as the de facto standard by promoting the standardization of the charging and transmission methods and the connector performance.
Fujikura contributes to CHAdeMO becoming the de facto standard with the launch of a new CE-certified connector that conforms to IEC62196-1 as well as the models already released in Japan.

This connector is a CE-certified model that comes with a lead cable for CHAdeMO DC fast chargers.

*1 CHAdeMO Association :An association working on the standardization of CHAdeMO charging system for EVs and other work. Five leader companies include Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., LTD, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Fuji Heavy Industries LTD, and Tokyo Electric Power Company. Fujikura is a regular member of the association.

【Features】

  • Fail-safe by the same operating direction with connector and lever
  • The best-angled grip for good handling
  • Light operability by center lever design
  • Higher mechanical strength of lever such as load-carrying capacity and impact resistance compared with conventional ones

 

◆Development of Super-small-diameter Leaky Coaxial Cable (ZLCX-2.5)

Fujikura has developed a super-small-diameter leaky coaxial cable with the smallest diameter and the least weight, ZLCX-2.5D, which has major uses for short-distance wireless communications.*1

The high flexibility of ZLCX-2.5D due to its small outer diameter of about 4mm and light weight of 21g/m provides the ease of wiring and installation in small space.
In addition, a new technology enabled vertical emission of radio waves, which is tough for conventional LCX to perform, and this resolved the problem of the shadow area around the terminal.
Installing ZLCX-2.5D allows the creation of a wireless LAN network environment only on the desk of a meeting room, which requires security, and a wireless environment by removal of wires connected to switches or sensors from a confined space of an ICT device.

*1:Researched by Fujikura as of February 2014

【Structure of ZLCX-2.5D】

Structure of ZLCX-2.5D

R&D Laboratories

Optics and Electronics Laboratory

Optics and Electronics Laboratory
(Sakura, Chiba)

Environment and Energy Laboratory

Environment and Energy Laboratory
(Sakura, Chiba)

Optical Cable System R&D Center

Optical Cable System R&D Center
(Sakura, Chiba)

Electronics Components & Auto Center

Electronics Components & Auto Center
(Sakura, Chiba)

Power & Telecommunication Cable System R&D Center

Power & Telecommunication Cable System R&D Center
(Suzuka, Mie)