Developing Products and Technologies that Contribute to Solving Environmental Issues, Including Automobile Exhaust Gases, and Responding to Energy-saving Needs
The Ceramic Products Business Group offers a line-up of ceramic products, led by ceramic substrates for automotive exhaust gas purifiers, that serves a broad range of industries and provides smart solutions for modern requirements such as environment protection and energy conservation.
It is one of our social responsibilities to ensure a stable supply of high-quality products and to continue to offer products that correspond to new environmental regulations in a timely manner.
We will deliver products that will meet social needs to international markets through our global production system comprising 18 plants located in nine countries.
Profits Improved Backed by Demand Growth and Business Restructuring
While sales and profits decreased from the previous year due to the effect of yen appreciation, production output saw an increase on a year-on-year basis as demand in the automobile market remained brisk globally. The automotive-related business posted net sales and profits exceeding our initial forecasts as the needs for NGK products continued to rise due to favorable factors including tighter automobile exhaust gas regulations around the world and an increase in sales of small-sized passenger vehicles and trucks in China. In the industrial process products business, we saw an increase in demand, mainly in China, for heating devices for cathode materials used in lithium-ion batteries of electric vehicles. In addition, new projects and maintenance demand related to nuclear power facilities have been increasing gradually. Moreover, as a result of our ongoing efforts for business restructuring of kiln and refractory products, profitability continued to improve.
rofits are expected to continue to decrease as in fiscal 2016 against the backdrop of prolonged yen appreciation, capital investment toward boosting supply capacity and active investment in new product development and human resources development, among other efforts. We have been pushing forward with the establishment of additional production lines and the launch of new plants around the world in an effort to further strengthen supply capability, which is one of strengths of the NGK Group.
Strengthening Steady Supply of Uniform Quality around the World
In the automotive-related business, we will aim to improve productivity and strengthen the provision of consistent quality globally by adding new lines in Poland, establishing a new plant in Thailand and renewing equipment at other existing plants. As a global company, it is critical to ensure the steady supply of products with consistent quality. For that purpose, we regularly conduct GOMs (Global Operation Meetings), where plant managers get together to solve issues and share information, and PEMs (Process Expert Meetings), where persons in charge of manufacturing technology divisions gather to exchange opinions. We also tackle the standardization of quality from the equipment perspective.
We have been making constant efforts for technological innovation by placing state-of-the-art production lines to multiple plants. For example, such new production technology for HONEYCERAM ceramic substrates was initially installed to the Ishikawa Plant then being done to Thailand, and, as same way, for silicon carbide diesel particulate filters (SiC DPFs) initially was to the Komaki Plant then was to Poland. Furthermore, we steadily respond to market and customer needs in the automotive-related business by launching new products and developing mass production systems to coincide with the introduction of new regulations and the establishment of new markets.
［Industrial Process Products］
Enhancing Business Base
In the industrial process products business, equipment demand for automotive materials such as cathode materials used in lithium-ion batteries has remained at a high level. In addition, we are expected to win a project related to a new low-level radioactive waste treatment system. We believe that we will be able to secure steady net sales and profits by making continuous efforts to enhance the business base such as by exploiting our manufacturing and engineering capabilities.
Responding to Market Growth with Extensive Product Line-up
The market environment surrounding the Ceramic Products Business Group is anticipated to significantly grow in and after fiscal 2018, especially in the automotive-related business.
Substantial growth is expected for the gasoline particulate filter (GPF) market in line with the full-fledged introduction of regulations on the number of particulate matter (PM) emitted from gasoline-fueled vehicles. Under such circumstances, the NGK Group has commenced the mass production and shipment of GPFs, mainly in Europe.
Meanwhile, the NGK Group will also start the mass production of a new NOx sensor product. Given the serious air pollution that is plaguing China and India, it is a certainty that automobile exhaust gas regulations will be tightened in the future. As a result, demand for HONEYCERAM, DPFs, GPFs and NOx sensors is expected to increase from a medium- to long-term perspective.
The NGK Group boasts a wide-ranging product line-up that can meet various needs of customers in different regions. Our aim is to establish a position as a top supplier by offering products for passenger vehicles, large-sized vehicles, diesel-fueled vehicles, gasoline-fueled vehicles and hybrid vehicles and attaining large market shares in every market. Through these efforts, we will strive to quickly identify technological trends of automobile manufacturers and push forward with technology and product development that looks ahead to future needs.
［Industrial Process Products］
Entering New Markets by Leveraging Broad Industry Channels
In the industrial process products business, we will promote selection and concentration in prospective markets by leveraging our broad industry channels covering a wide range of products, from various types of corrosion-resistant equipment to heating devices. Specifically, we have been endeavoring to develop new products and explore new applications for existing products in fields such as secondary battery materials, multilayer ceramic capacitors, biopharmaceuticals and medical equipment.