Based in Osaka, Japan, New Cosmos Electric develops a wide range of products including residential gas alarms, industrial gas alarm systems, portable gas detectors, and odour sensors. All of which incorporate the companies unique gas sensor technology.
In recent years, with the development of fire detection systems that use odour sensors, products for medical fields, as well as indoor air quality measurement, the company’s efforts have broadened from the field of safety to creating comfortable environments.
Current President, Yoshinori Takahashi, joined New Cosmos Electric in 1977. His first job was to develop carbon monoxide (CO) concentration meters. The early 1970’s was a big transition period for gas companies as they switched from coke oven gas to natural gas, and residual CO in piping consequently became a problem.
Takahashi explains, “This became the start of our development of poison gas detection and alarm systems. During the same period, the iron and steel industry was changing their energy source from petroleum to coal. This created an urgent need for light, durable and portable CO detectors. In addition to these detectors, we developed potentiostatic electrolysis-type sensors in order to create new products for semiconductor gas.”
From the 1980’s to mid 1990’s, the Japanese semiconductor market grew rapidly and there was a boom in factory construction. The early 1990’s also saw the start of semiconductor plant construction in South Korea and Taiwan. During a visit to Taiwan, President Takahashi by chance met an acquaintance from a Japanese industrial gas company. He heard that a large semiconductor plant was to be built there and that the Japanese industrial gas company would be involved in building the gas supply piping system. Takahashi managed to get an order for the gas detection and alarm systems.
“It was excellent timing. It was also a great opportunity to realise the high growth potential in the Taiwanese semiconductor market,” Takahashi exclaimed.
Since then, many long-term business trips to Taiwan helped create a track record for gas detection and alarm systems. This led to the opening of the company’s first overseas Taiwan Office in April 1996. From here, New Cosmos Electric went beyond semiconductors to horizontally expand into petrochemicals, iron and steel, and other industrial fields, and used the office as a foothold to expand into mainland China.
As for semiconductor plants in Korea, chemical tape detectors from US companies are still the mainstream choice for harmful gas detection. New Cosmos Electric has had some success with combustible gas detection and alarm systems, but they are also currently seeking entry into a completely different field; odour sensors. Odour sensors are used to monitor operator working environments in clean rooms. They are currently in testing, but will become a new staple if they can be introduced into production lines.
“The technology for odour sensors was developed in 1997. There is a wide range of applications, but it’s been difficult to find a key field for them. However, we have high expectations for them to be a big advantage in the future in performing risk assessment and applying smart technology to industrial safety progress,” Takahashi explains.
In terms of his ambitions, the President says, “We will follow our ultimate goal to eliminate gas-related accidents all over the world. As a premise to that, we will constantly work to develop sensor technologies for applications in all fields. To achieve this, Figaro Engineering, who joined the group last year, will play a big role. We will create a synergy between our sensor development capability and our wide overseas network to achieve even greater results. As a sensor specialist, we will develop revolutionary sensors and become a presence that’s will amaze the world. The Cosmos Sensors Centre will form a core organisation in achieving that.”
President Takahashi adds, “What is important Is to remember that all that we have is built on the tireless labour of the pioneers who built New Cosmos Electric. The past presidents of the company have taught us ‘never be satisfied with the present.’ We have always respected the willingness of our employees to take up the challenges that face them as a sensor manufacture based on technology, and that spirit will never die.”
The Gas Review, issue no. 435