HOME > About Us > Research and Development Center

Research and Development Center

A Cutting-Edge Center for Next-Generation Business Development The Research and Development Center is responsible for cultivating new businesses at Nihon Yamamura Glass. Read more about the center's initiatives below.

About Creation of the Research and Development Center

The Research and Development Center was established in 2007 to develop new technologies unrelated to our existing business fields such as our Glass Bottle and Plastics companies. The center is charged with cultivating new businesses that will help carry Nihon Yamamura Glass into the future. Keywords guiding the center's research into new businesses include “safety/reliability,” “the environment” and “sustainability.” These keywords represent the essentials required by society in the future, and help to steer the center toward R&D in highly competitive technologies. Major avenues have included plant factories (which are related to food safety and reliability) and next-generation packaging (which are related to reducing environmental impact).
Construction finished in 2012, establishing the center as a state-of-the-art research institute. The center also helps to accelerate joint development with customers and business partners.

Next-Generation Packaging

We have been researching possibilities for next-generation packaging, including glass bottles, PET bottles and most recently flexible containers (pouches). As our first advancement, we have developed pouches with flat, three-dimensional shaped bases using original manufacturing techniques (patent pending). The flat base gives the product more stability, while the three-dimensional shape improves the ratio of volume to film surface used. Film use was reduced by approximately 25% compared to previously existing pouches (according to in-company research), further reducing the environmental impact of packaging materials. Additionally, since the edge where film is wrapped around a product doesn't stand out the packaging feels nicer to the touch, and the original manufacturing technique allows the entire trunk of the pouch to be used as a continuous design. As a result, the pouches also help increase product appeal.
In the future, we will continue to develop new flexible containers in accordance with the Research and Development Center's three research keywords.

Plant Factories

We began investigating plant cultivation—including staff and equipment—from scratch, aiming to create a plant factory incorporating highly original technologies. Currently, over 280 vegetable and fruit varieties have been successfully cultivated by the research department. As a result, researchers have built a broad spectrum of expertise in environmental controls (such as temperature and humidity), lighting and nutrients. In particular, we cooperated with a lighting manufacturer to develop high-performance LED lighting suitable for plant factory cultivation. The lighting is used for seedling production. In November 2014 we utilized the technologies we had been developing to establish and put into operation a fully controlled closed-system plant factory on company grounds. Produce raised in the factory is sold to major ready-made meal companies, mail order food vendors and other clients. Produce varieties available for sale were developed over several years, with a special focus on customer demand. For instance, the plant factory can produce high-quality vegetables free of agrochemicals but with minimal germ presence, for longer lasting freshness, as well as rare varieties not often grown on standard farms. Because existing plant factories have primarily focused on varieties of lettuce, we chose to focus on non-lettuce cultivation. We constantly strive to improve quality control for the factory, and employ in-house testing equipment to measure microbial content and nutritional value.
In the future, in addition to leafy edible plants, we plan to expand R&D and business into cultivation of medicinal and other added-value plants.