Electric cars are the subject of considerable buzz, but they aren’t the only kind of vehicle that will revolutionize our way of moving in the future.
Asahi Kasei believes that the future of automotive industry resides with C.A.S.E. – Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric vehicles.
Asahi Kasei in North America is positioned to be a key factor in each of the four segments of C.A.S.E, and the new marketing facility in Novi, Michigan, will further strengthen that vision.
The Novi office opened in December 2019 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by leaders from both the United States and Japanese departments. Iichiro Kitsuda, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning of Asahi Kasei America, Inc (AKA) stated: “Through this office, we can promote our automotive affiliates in the United States as well as seek business possibilities of both owned technologies under R&D stage or partner companies’ ones through Corporate Venture Capital investments.”
Iichiro Kitsuda is the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning for Asahi Kasei America and is pictured here at the new Novi, Michigan marketing facility.
Asahi Kasei is already operating in the automotive field in the United States via partner companies. The work in Novi will support each of them. These Asahi Kasei companies in the U.S. offering innovative products are:
・ AKM Semiconductor
・ Asahi Kasei Plastics North America
・ Crystal IS
・ Sage Automotive Interiors
・ Sun Plastech
The new Novi marketing office opened in December.
The Novi location will align with Asahi Kasei’s goals for two primary reasons: the major American automobile manufacturers called the "Big Three" have their headquarters in the Detroit area, and there are many parts manufacturers located in southeast Michigan. By concentrating our company's automotive marketing functions at the center of the industry, Asahi Kasei will continue to propose innovative products that meet rapidly changing market needs. "This new office will give us both a place to connect and collaborate with our different automotive businesses in North America, automobile manufacturers and part suppliers. This is the next chapter in our automotive growth plan in North America," said John W. Moyer, Senior Executive Officer of Asahi Kasei Corp. and Chief Strategic Officer of AKA.
John W. Moyer is Senior Executive Officer of Asahi Kasei Corp. and Chief Strategic Officer for Asahi Kasei America.
This investment signals a major step forward for Asahi Kasei’s position in the mobility field. Asahi Kasei is aiming at doubling its sales in this field to 5 Billion USD by FY2025.
The new location allows Asahi Kasei to grow the opportunities in our primary focus area: mobility. As a practice, mobility comes into play in each of the four elements of C.A.S.E.
Connected vehicles will require monitoring of the in-vehicle environment and the recognition of passengers. To accomplish this, monitoring technologies, smart textiles and diversified sensor technologies must be developed. Senseair is an Asahi Kasei Group company that is working to address these needs through its gas sensing modules.
This CO2 sensor by Senseair monitors interior air quality and helps reduce the vehicle’s environmental impact and the driver's risk of drowsiness
As automakers continue to develop Autonomous vehicles, the insides of those vehicles must change along with them. Increasingly, the cars must transform into moving living rooms and offices. Asahi Kasei is focusing on improving this area with Sage Automotive Interiors leading the change with their innovative fabrics.
Fabrics made by Sage Automotive Interiors are designed with cleanliness and comfort in mind.
Shared vehicles, meanwhile, must be easy to clean and also stain- and odor-resistant. Our Thermylene™ polypropylene, developed through Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, has an anti-microbial feature. Deep ultraviolet (UVC) LEDs, such as the Klaran line of UVC LEDs made by our company Crystal IS, can be used in shared cabins to prevent mold build-up. Asahi Kasei’s dedication to innovative fabrics makes shared options more appealing to drivers and the companies that own them.
This UVC LED produced by Crystal IS can quickly disinfect the interiors of shared vehicles.
The last of C.A.S.E.’s four components, Electric, is another area of expertise for Asahi Kasei. Electric vehicles need longer driving ranges and the battery performance is critical to that. As the company with the highest global market share, Asahi Kasei’s battery separators have supported the innovations of lithium-ion batteries for years. The company’s Celgard™ and Hipore™ separators are both industry-leading products. Another Asahi Kasei separator product is Daramic, which is used in lead-acid batteries. Using Daramic enhances the start-stop capabilities of cars, which in turn increases fuel efficiency. Asahi Kasei drives electrification through these separators.
Celgard™ and Hipore™ separators are a key component of modern batteries.
Lightweight materials also improve the fuel efficiencies and driving ranges. Asahi Kasei’s advanced plastics and design technologies have replaced many metal parts and received industry awards.
Asahi Kasei's innovation of composite nutt offers a 2.3-pound weight reduction, reduced CO2 footprint and cost savings per vehicle produced.
Asahi Kasei’s topology optimization technology, a kind of computer aided engineering (CAE), was used to achieve innovative design of the part, enabling an 83% weight reduction.
In offering technological advancements that help in each of the four areas of C.A.S.E., Asahi Kasei can continue to improve the mobility of automobile users and also simultaneously help improve the environment.
“From a longer-term perspective, I am a real supporter of C.A.S.E.,” John Moyer said. “I am currently in my early 60s, so I would assume that in 20 years or so driving may become difficult for me. Without becoming a burden to my children or losing my freedom, I want to rely more on autonomous and ride-sharing for future transportation. Also, from an environmental perspective, I want to leave this world better than it is today and electrification of automobiles can have an impact on this. I can proudly say that while working with Asahi Kasei I can see the difference they have on contributing to these aspects of life.”
There’s no better example of this than the AKXY™ concept car that Asahi Kasei released in 2017. It contains a multitude of Asahi technologies. When it debuted, it contained 27 unique Asahi Kasei technologies. After a series of updates and breakthroughs, it now features 37 Asahi products.
The AKXY™ concept car contains more than three dozen Asahi Kasei technologies that make it safe, comfortable and secure.
Asahi Kasei developed the AKXY™ POD as a vehicle interior concept mockup to showcase proposals for future comfort and stimulate the development of new materials, products and technologies.
Comprising a variety of Asahi Kasei fiber products, plastics and sensors, AKXY™ POD demonstrates the company’s concept for the future of passenger comfort, safety and security inside vehicles. It is designed to inspire visitors by enabling them to directly experience the future vehicle space through the senses of touch, sight, sound and smell. The design also embodies Asahi Kasei’s vision for connecting vehicles with materials and connecting passengers with nature as an expression of harmony with the natural environment.
And it will likely see more in the future, as Asahi Kasei engineers and our network of partners seek further advancements. The case for C.A.S.E. is strong. And Asahi Kasei is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the situation, thanks to strong partners and our new office in Novi.
Asahi Kasei America executives John Moyer, left, and Iichiro Kitsuda stand in front of a photo of the AKXY™ concept car at the new Novi marketing office just outside of Detroit, Michigan.