Fiscal 2021 Highlights and Lowlights (April 1, 2020–March 31, 2021)

April

Highlights
Cultivation and Shipments of Cherry Tomatoes Gets Underway at One of the Largest Greenhouses in Japan

AgriD Inc.—which was established by Asai Nursery, Inc. and DENSO CORPORATION—has completed the construction of one of the largest greenhouses in Japan in Inabe City, Mie Prefecture and begun cultivating and shipping cherry tomatoes.

At the newly constructed greenhouse, AgriD will integrate DENSO’s technologies for agricultural industrialization, such as those for environmental control in greenhouses, operational improvement, and labor savings through automation, with Asai Nursery’s industry-leading domestic cultivation facilities and technologies for developing plant varieties. Through this integration, AgriD aims to achieve farmer-friendly and lucrative agriculture in an industry where a shortage of labor has become a serious issue.

Specifically, AgriD will work to deliver labor savings through collaboration between humans and machines and realize farms that are operational 24 hours a day, with the aim of dramatically improving their productivity. AgriD will achieve these aims by ensuring the stable, year-round cultivation of vegetables unaffected by the seasons or the weather through the use of environmental control technologies to optimize the temperature, humidity, and other variables inside greenhouses and by automating the transportation of harvested crops and nighttime harvesting. DENSO will contribute to agricultural businesses in Japan and overseas through these highly productive and sustainable next-generation horticultural facilities.

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Highlights
Investment in Certhon Group, a Dutch Horticultural Facilities Business

DENSO CORPORATION has invested in Certhon Group (Certhon Build B.V.), a Dutch horticultural facilities business operating primarily in Europe and the Americas. Going forward, DENSO and Certhon will work together on technological development and sales in the field of horticultural facilities.

Amid a growing demand for food as the global population increases, agricultural productivity faces destabilizing factors due to climate change and abnormal weather resulting from environmental issues. In addition, the agricultural workforce is decreasing year by year for reasons that include the aging of agricultural workers, unstable earnings, and a challenging working environment. To tackle these global food-related issues, building a stable and sustainable agricultural production system, such as the establishment of a stable cultivation environment unaffected by the climate, as well as increasing labor savings and reducing heavy work, is indispensable.

Certhon, in which DENSO has invested, is a Dutch company with world-class, advanced technologies in the field of horticultural facilities that sells solutions for large-scale horticultural facilities in more than 20 countries around the world.

Through this capital alliance, DENSO will aim to offer agricultural solutions by working to develop technologies for next-generation horticultural facilities, such as those for completely automating factories that grow plants, and selling packages for horticultural facilities in accordance with the diverse needs of countries across the globe by leveraging Certhon’s insight on global agricultural business.

Going forward, we will contribute to sustainable agricultural production through industrialization and work to build a food value chain business with the aim of offering new value to the fields of agriculture and food.

June

Highlights
Establishment of the Electrification Innovation Center

DENSO CORPORATION has established the Electrification Innovation Center (EIC) at its Anjo Plant in order to strengthen its development and production structures in the electrification domain for automobiles.

DENSO is working on technological development for the electrification domain as a focus field aimed at realizing the future mobility society. With this goal in mind, we have developed and produced key components for electrified vehicles, such as inverters and motor generators for hybrid electric vehicles and battery packs for mild hybrid vehicles. We have also opened the Hirose Plant and have been expanding our overseas sites as part of efforts to establish a development environment for the electrification domain.

At the EIC, we have efficiently arranged a development wing for carrying out such activities as advanced and mass production development and the testing of vehicles and systems, a durability wing for conducting reliability testing, an outdoor test track for test driving developed products, and a plant for establishing mass production lines. We will accelerate the development of products for the electrification domain by assembling development and design personnel, in addition to production personnel, and comprehensively promoting everything from advanced technological development, prototyping, and verification through to the establishment and stabilization of mass production lines. Additionally, we will implement a demonstration of energy-efficient technology at our newly expanded plant with the aim of eliminating CO2 emissions from plants in the future.

DENSO will build a global supply structure for products powered by electricity with the Anjo and Hirose plants positioned as its global mother factories in the electrification domain. We will reduce CO2 emissions by promoting the popularization across the globe of products powered by electricity that are produced at environment-friendly plants, thereby contributing to the realization of a sustainable society.

June–September

Highlights
Adoption of Retrofitted Acceleration Control Devices as the Brand-Name Products of Several Automakers

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    Rendering of a fitted acceleration control device

DENSO’s acceleration control devices for when drivers accidently step on the gas pedal, which can be retrofitted, have been adopted and launched as the brand-name products of SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION, SUBARU CORPORATION, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Mazda Motor Corporation, and MITSUBISHI MOTORS CORPORATION.

This product, comprising an ultrasound sensor, a display, and a controller, helps reduce collisions caused by drivers accidently stepping on the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal when going forward or reversing.

DENSO will aim to realize a safe and secure automotive society by helping to reduce traffic accidents.

September

Highlights
The Daian Plant Receives the Mie Prefectural Governor’s Award in the 2020 Mie Tokowaka Health and Productivity Management Awards

DENSO CORPORATION received the Mie Prefectural Governor’s Award, the highest honor, in the 2020 Mie Tokowaka Health and Productivity Management Awards held by Mie Prefecture. The awards were established by Mie Prefecture in fiscal 2021 to promote health and productivity management on the part of companies and other organizations in order to realize a Mie where everyone can lead healthy lives. The Daian Plant (Inabe City, Mie Prefecture), which was honored in the 2020 awards, was recognized as a company facility that implements cutting-edge initiatives for the health of its employees from among the 127 companies that were certified in the Mie Tokowaka Health and Productivity Management Enterprise (White Mie) program, 60 of which entered the awards.

DENSO believes that physical and mental health is essential to the happiness of its employees and their families. With this in mind, we will continue to vigorously promote health-related initiatives from the perspective of both physical and mental health to cultivate an environment in which all employees can enthusiastically demonstrate their individual capabilities in good health.

In 2020, DENSO TRIM CORPORATION was also certified in the Mie Tokowaka Health and Productivity Management Enterprise (White Mie) program.

October

Highlights
Development of a Next-Generation Lithium-Ion Battery-Monitoring Unit with IC, a Key Component of Battery Engine Control Units

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      Lithium-ion battery-monitoring unit with IC, a key component of battery engine control units. This product plays an important role in monitoring the voltage of lithium-ion batteries, which are the power source for xEVs.

  • DENSO CORPORATION has developed a next-generation lithium-ion battery-monitoring unit with an integrated circuit (IC) that enables electrified vehicles (xEVs) to use their batteries with greater efficiency and contributes to improving their fuel efficiency and extending their driving range. The battery-monitoring unit with IC, the first product in the world to combine highly accurate battery voltage detection and multi-cell monitoring by increasing the number of battery cells that can be monitored, has been installed in the TOYOTA YARIS, which was launched in February 2020. The newly developed product is also slated for adoption going forward in a variety of xEVs that are installed with lithium-ion batteries.

Accelerating the popularization of xEVs, such as hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles, is an urgent priority in order to resolve social issues that include global warming, air pollution, and resource- and energy-related problems. DENSO is working to develop technologies and products that help improve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle price with a view to contributing to the resolution of such issues.

The newly developed, next-generation lithium-ion battery-monitoring unit with an IC can detect battery voltage approximately three times more accurately and monitor approximately 1.2 times more battery cells than the previous product developed by DENSO in 2015. A product combining highly accurate battery voltage detection and multi-cell monitoring is a world first.

Highlights
The Nishio Plant Wins the Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry Director-General’s Award in the Factory Greening Award Program

DENSO CORPORATION’s Nishio Plant has won the Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry Director-General’s Award in the Factory Greening Award Program (commonly known as the National Award for Factory Greening program) for its factory greening initiatives. This program awards factories and organizations as well as individuals that have proactively promoted factory greening and made remarkable achievements in improving the environments both inside and outside their factories. The awards are conferred in stages: the Chairperson’s Award of the Japan Greenery Research and Development Center, the Chubu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry Director-General’s Award, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Minister’s Award, depending on the status of initiatives.

November

Highlights
Commencement of Study of Energy Management System for Facilitating the Full-Scale Deployment of EV Buses for Fixed-Route Bus Services

Michinori Holdings, Inc., Aizu Bus Co., Ltd., DENSO CORPORATION, ABB Bailey Japan Ltd.,DAIHEN Corporation, and Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory LLC have been awarded a contract for a research and development and demonstration project toward the realization of Logistics MaaS (Mobility as a Service), which is being implemented by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in fiscal 2021. The demonstration project began in October 2020. In this project, Aizu Bus gathers data from three electric vehicle (EV) buses, which were manufactured by BYD Company Limited and have been in operation since December 2018. DENSO analyzes electric mileage* and verifies predictive algorithms using artificial intelligence technology while DAIHEN validates the charging management technology for an efficient charge of EV buses using rapid chargers equipped with Synergy Link. The project will also study the possibility of deploying EV buses for each operation office belonging to group companies of Michinori Holdings.

* “Electric mileage” refers to power consumption per unit of distance traveled or distance traveled per unit amount of power for EVs.

Future Development

The demonstration project will build an energy management system for EV buses and monitor energy consumption while adjusting electricity procurement and formulating operation plans accordingly in an integrated manner with the aim of introducing and operating EV buses—the introduction and operating costs of which are expensive—at a reasonable price.

The project will also study the feasibility of developing EV buses with in-vehicle batteries (which are essential) that have a reduced battery capacity by revising the mode of operation for buses to one that is suitable for EV buses, and the feasibility of power interchange from in-vehicle batteries. DENSO will contribute to the realization of a sustainable society by making use of the know-how it acquires through these studies to facilitate the introduction of EV buses.

Highlights
DENSO Wins Medals at the 58th National Skills Competition and the 40th National Abilympics

DENSO CORPORATION won gold medals (gold prizes) in four skill categories at the 58th National Skills Competition (November 13 to November 16) held in Aichi Prefecture, and in one skill category in the 40th National Abilympics, which was held at the same time.

Twenty-seven participants from the DENSO Group competed in 11 skill categories in the National Skills Competition, winning 14 medals, including gold medals in the “plastic die engineering,” “sheet metal work,” “industrial control,” and “mobile robotics” categories. At the National Abilympics, five participants from the DENSO Group competed in two categories, winning one gold and one silver medal in the “electronic assembly” category.

DENSO has won a total of 544 medals (including 143 gold medals), collecting a bronze or above, spanning the first to the 58th National Skills Competition, and a total of 28 medals (including 14 gold medals), earning a bronze or above, from the 27th—when DENSO competed for the first time—to the 40th National Abilympics.

In addition to achieving outstanding results, the aim of DENSO’s participation in the National Skills Competition and the National Abilympics is to cultivate personnel who will lead DENSO in the future by refining the mental, physical, and technical capabilities of technicians through special training. In turn, we hope to have these technicians pass down their skills to the next generation.

Based on its belief that sophisticated technical skills and know-how that give form to superior engineering, along with technological development, are the two prongs of Monozukuri (manufacturing), DENSO will continue to pursue the cultivation of technicians and the passing down of skills through its efforts in the National Skills Competition and the National Abilympics.

December

Highlights
Joint Establishment by Four Companies of the Open Innovation of Mobility Technologies to Achieve the SDGs, a Social Cooperation Program

The Graduate School of Frontier Sciences at The University of Tokyo, DENSO CORPORATION, NSK Ltd., Bridgestone Corporation, and ROHM Co., Ltd. have established the Open Innovation of Mobility Technologies to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Figure 1),* a social cooperation program.

The program, which runs from December 1, 2020 to March 31, 2024 (three years and four months), is located at the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences at The University of Tokyo and is implemented by two researchers, including Associate Professor Hiroshi Fujimoto. The program will conduct research and development on technologies that support the electrification of mobility and on technologies that make electric mobility more resource-efficient and sustainable, as well as testing of a mechanism for making a portion of the results publicly available to support open innovation.

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      * Figure 1: SDGs to be achieved through the program

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Note: A social cooperation program is a program that is established at education institutions and research institutes, such as faculties and graduate schools, by using funds received from external organizations (excluding national research and development agencies), such as private companies, for conducting research on universal issues with high public interest.