It dates back to the early 1890s when the first modern electricity infrastructure began to be developed in Japan., In those days Japan relied on imports for Special high-voltage insulators. An engineering effort was launched to attain its domestic production, wishing to help the national infras tructure building project. The research started by studying a piece of US-made insulator shards, aiming at the creation of original high-voltage insulators.
This endeavor was incorporated later in 1919 when NGK was established to independently launch a business that grew over the years by continually developing and supplying ever-advancing ultra-high pressure and ultra-high strength insulators in response to expanding electricity demand from both the household and industrial sectors.
NGK has also pursued business diversification and global expansion vigorously. The company began in its earliest years to develop sulfuric acid corrosion-resistant apparatus for the chemical industry, commencing commercial manufacturing in 1931. And its overseas business was initiated in 1935 when exporting power transmission insulators to India.
Throughout its history, NGK has persistently endeavored to develop and supply products that support social foundations and serve environmental conservation, leveraging its accumulated ceramics technologies. This long-standing sense of commitment to social contribution has been incorporated into the company's corporate philosophy: "NGK products and technologies must create new value and contribute to the quality of life."
During the period of high economic growth, NGK vigorously pursued the diversification and expansion of its business. In 1958, we began manufacturing and marketing beryllium-copper products; the Chita Plant (Handa, Aichi Prefecture) and the Komaki Plant (Komaki, Aichi Prefecture) were completed in 1942 and 1962, respectively; and in 1965, our first overseas sales subsidiary was set up in the U.S.
The 1973 Oil Shock threw the Japanese economy into confusion, which prompted NGK to expand its overseas business. We commenced local production of insulators in the U.S. in 1973 and Belgium in 1977. Around the same time, we began manufacturing and marketing HONEYCERAM®, a honeycomb ceramic catalyst converter substrate.
NGK promoted full scale development and production of environmental products. The production of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) commenced in 1989, and ceramics for semiconductor manufacturing equipment and NOx sensors for automobile exhausts in 1996. We began research to develop the NAS® battery for electricity storage in 1984, and lunched the business in 2002 prior to commercial production starting in the following year, making NGK the world's first manufacturer in this area.
NGK has grown business in its key areas, particularly rapidly expanding production of ceramics for purifying automobile exhaust gases and steadily increasing orders for NAS battery systems from companies in and outside of Japan. At the same time, we strenuously engage in new developments, including gasoline particulate filters (GPFs), wafers for electronic devices, subnano-ceramic membranes, and wavelength control drying systems, in response to needs emerging from various sectors.
The NGK Group pursues R&D as one of key management themes. Our R&D activities focus on developing high-value added and high-function products, leveraging materials and processing technologies centering on fine ceramics.
NGK has set a group-wide target of raising the percentage of sales for new products to 30% of the total by fiscal 2017 (2017 Challenge 30). We are currently striving to create new products and businesses, and these efforts are progressing steadily to achieve the target.
We are working to broaden the range of high-performance wafer products, fully applying a number of original processing technologies cultivated over years of engaging in ceramics projects, such as those for bonding different materials, crystal formation, and lamination of single crystal substrates.
To accelerate the business development of new products, including solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), chip type ceramic secondary batteries, and zinc secondary batteries, we established a ceramic battery project in April 2016, bringing together capabilities from Corporate Manufacturing Engineering, Corporate R&D, business divisions and Head Offices. This company-wide, cross-divisional effort engages in the development of production technologies and facilities and the strengthening of customer development activities, seeking to expedite the market introduction of new products.
Our original full-ceramic design has been employed to achieve both high efficiency and high durability in a compact body. Intended for use in next-generation fuel cell systems.
NGK's proprietary technology OH ion-conducting ceramic materials have been adopted to deliver a large-capacity long-life secondary battery. Also, the high safety property of the battery allows its wide-ranging application, particularly in home-use equipment and indoor facilities.
A solid-state battery that features high energy density attained in a super-thin (0.2 mm) chip and high temperature durability (up to 120℃). Major intended applications involve wearable devices and wireless modules for IoT.