Materials Business Field: Transforming from a single-type Materials Supplier to a Multi-Material Component Supply Partner/Yasumichi Takesue Senior Executive Officer, Member of the Board President, Material Business of Teijin Group

We have ceaselessly advanced measures targeting multiple materials and composites ahead of contemporary trends

Ceaseless Evolution and Ambition Lies in Our Genes

Teijin was founded as the equivalent of a modern-day venture business, spawned from university research. The Company was born in the process of commercializing the development of Japan's first technology for manufacturing semi-synthetic rayon fibers. After World War II, Teijin's main operations underwent an evolution from rayon to polyester. The Company then worked to commercialize new materials in stride with the changing times. Our strengths lie in our basic technologies for materials that we have developed by pursuing cutting-edge technology development. Since its founding, Teijin has handed down an entrepreneurial spirit that compels us to pioneer new businesses, and this evolution and ambition has been inherited in our genes.

To rise above the increasingly fierce competition among multiple materials, we will strive to transform our business model by integrating various high-performance materials and by developing composites from those materials. In the process, we will continue to deliver new value to our customers.

The History of Teijin Materials Business

Figure: The History of Teijin Materials Business

Expanding the Automotive Composites Business

Expectations for Reducing Vehicle Weight Are Rising

Looking ahead, environmental regulations are expected to become even more stringent around the world. Therefore, improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions have become an urgent priority for all automakers.

Technological innovation is currently being pursued on many different fronts to improve fuel economy. In this environment, one of the most promising approaches to improving fuel economy is to reduce vehicle weight. Reducing the weight not only of gasoline vehicles, but also of hybrid and electric vehicles, is eagerly expected to offer significant benefits in terms of fuel economy.

Reducing Vehicle Weight Through New Materials

There is a growing movement to reduce the weight of vehicles by replacing metals in automotive components with new materials.

Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is attracting significant promise as a material capable of reducing vehicle weight to the bare minimum without compromising safety. If CFRP could be used to reduce the weight of the vehicle frame, which is the heaviest structural component of a vehicle, we would be able to further reduce the size and weight of engines and other components. This would lead to a dramatic reduction in overall vehicle weight. For this reason, various ways of adopting CFRP in vehicle frames are now being considered.

Figure: ‌The Knock-on Benefits of Reducing the Weight of Vehicle Frames The Knock-on Benefits of Reducing the Weight of Vehicle Frames

Composites Will Transform Automobiles

The ecosystem of the automobile industry is being changed dramatically by trends such as innovation in engines and drive systems, technological advances such as ICT and automated driving, and increasingly stringent environment regulations. In automotive components, competition is expected to intensify among various materials as integrating multiple materials according to safety and cost requirements becomes mainstream. However, we see this increased competition as a business opportunity, not a threat.

By making CSP a member of the Teijin Group through the acquisition, Teijin has expanded its business fields, transforming itself from a single-type materials supplier into a components supplier. Leveraging our strengths in composites technologies developed to date, we will evolve into a “component supply partner” for automakers—a partner that is able to address the use of multiple materials and propose various products including composites such as GFRP(Glass fiber reinforced plastic) and CFRP(Carbon fiber reinforced plastic).

Acquisition of CSP

Accelerate the Expansion of the Composites Business

In January 2017, Teijin acquired all of the shares of CSP, the world's largest sheet molding compound (SMC) manufacturer for automakers. The company is a leading automotive composite supplier in North America and Tier 1 manufacturer of automobile components using thermoset composites such as glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP).

Moreover, CSP is a global industry leader in well-designed external components known as Class A components in the automotive industry. CSP already has an extensive track record based on the supply of numerous components to not only U.S. but also European and Japanese automakers.

Looking ahead, we will make full use of CSP's superior component design, production technology, quality control and expertise to strengthen our ability to propose component solutions encompassing materials selection to component design. These solutions will utilize CSP's GFRP and Teijin's CFRP, and will also consider the use of many other different materials.

Concurrently, we will work to establish a stable supply configuration on a global basis by taking full advantage of Teijin's global network.

CSP

Thermoplastic CFRP Sereebo

The Immense Potential of Thermoplastic CFRP

Concept car body-framework using thermoplastic CFRP

One of the major challenges facing conventional CFRP was the difficulty of mass production.

In response, Teijin has successfully developed thermoplastic CFRP using thermoplastic resin, which had been considered difficult to apply to CFRP. As a result, we have realized one-minute takt time technology for thermoplastic CFRP by dramatically simplifying the manufacturing process, thereby paving the way for its use in mass-produced vehicles.

Thermoplastic CFRP can be easily reshaped after molding, making this material ideal for reuse and reforming. Therefore, thermoplastic CFRP could potentially help to reduce environmental impact across the entire product life cycle, including after product use.

We are currently pursuing joint development of Teijin's thermoplastic CFRP brand Sereebo together with several automakers worldwide, in anticipation of its application to mass-produced automotive components.

LIB Separator and Membrane Business

LIELSORT

Demand is also expected to grow for separators used in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), in step with the expansion of markets for smartphones, tablets, and automotive batteries.

LIELSORT is an LIB separator developed by Teijin using proprietary polymer and coating technologies. It has earned a strong reputation for its superior heat resistance and adhesion performance. Ever since the start of LIELSORT production in 2012, Teijin has been posting steady growth in LIELSORT sales as a leading supplier of coated separators.

Looking ahead, we will work to further deploy LIB separators in automotive applications and applications for large-scale storage batteries, in addition to growing sales for use in smartphones and tablets.

Meanwhile, we have also started to commercialize high- performance microporous membranes, based on our molding technologies and related expertise developed over the years. Beginning with semiconductor applications, we aim to deploy them in a broad range of applications, from energy applications to medical devices.