According to The Gas Review, quite a lot of attempts have been made to take advantage of Aritificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) in the process of manufacturing to automate production lines or succeed craftsmanship.

In November 2015, Daikin Industries, air conditioner and refrigerant manufacturer, opened Technology Innovation Centre (TIC) as an R&D base aiming for innovation by its positive introduction of not only the booming AI and IoT, but also the technologies and expertise of different industries and fields.

Jun Kobayashi of TIC’s information dispatching team explained the significance of establishing the base saying, “It is necessary for us to take in the technologies of different industries or fields extensively from outside the company to accelerate innovation, so that we may upgrade our products and technologies necessary for the next generation instead of just developing products based on those existing now. TIC should be in a position to undertake realisation of such collaborative innovation.”

Taking a practical example of necessary equipment for the next generation, there is a new concept of creating such an air-conditioner that autonomously makes out and adjusts an environment most suited for people instead of the conventional type of air-conditioner in which human beings control temperature or humidity. This means that Daikin deems it indispensable to collaborate with the industries, universities and research institutes which are well familiar with data transmission or software like AI or IoT to proceed with such developments.

Subject of study for the future

In the TIC located in the premises of Daikin’s Yodogawa Works about 700 technical staff and engineers have been integrated from three different plants in Sakai (producing air-conditioners for business use), Shiga (producing air-conditioners for household use) and Yodogawa (producing fluorine chemicals).

In addition, Daikin aims to create a new value in living and industries through the combination of the air-conditioner of important infrastructure to support society with the rapidly booming AI and IoT. To this end, the planned employment of new graduates next year will be increased by 100 and further emphasis will be placed upon fostering of technical staff related to AI and IoT.

In the major subjects dealt with by TIC, the medium and long-term themes targeting the future requirements are enumerated which include “Industrial-academic-government cooperation”, “Development of new funtions”, “Cutting-edge chemical technologies”, “US air-conditioning products for the next generation” and “M&A of technologies”, in addition to further reinforcement of Daikin’s own core technology like inverters, heat pumps or fluorine chemicals and quickly responsive products.

Daikin is also enthusiastic about a joint research with an organisation outside the company as seen in the comprehensive tie-up agreement with University of Osaka mainly in the field of information science in June of this year.