Winning the technology award of the society of fiber science and technology, japan for development of a textile solar cell

Structure of a fiber solar cell

In June 2017, two engineers of the Company's Technical Center received the Technology Award of The Society of Fiber Science and Technology, Japan, for the development of a new type of textile solar cell. This award is presented to an individual or group that has conducted studies of significance, developed new inventions, or contributed to developments in the fiber industry. It has two sections, engineering and marketing. The two Suminoe employees were honored in the engineering section.
Textile solar cells use photovoltaic power-generating fiber. They are expected to be in demand as a stand-alone power source for indoor environment sensors or biological information sensors, despite their small power output capacity of 150 μW per 10 ㎠ .


Smart textile: power-generating fiber and textile electrodes, to be applied in the sensor fabric field

Structure of a fiber solar cell

We have developed a new type of textile solar cell through an industry-academia collaboration adopted as a NEDO project. These textile solar cells can be placed on curved surfaces and are therefore expected to be in demand as a stand-alone power source for wearable devices or indoor environment sensors, though with a small power output capacity of 150 μW per 10 ㎠.
We are aiming at commercial application of these textile solar cells, along with textile electrodes, which can be used as biological information sensors, as sensor fabrics in the fields of nursing care or health management during playing sports.

Textile solar cell

If embedded in interior goods, they can be used as a power source for sensors for indoor environments to measure humidity, temperature, illuminance, CO2, etc. Or if embedded in clothing or hats, taking advantage of their wearable function, together with biological information sensors, they may be used in nursing care or for patient observation.

Textile electrode for biological information sensors

We developed a fabric that can stick fast to human skin, by applying ultrafine fiber to a conductive textile made of metal plated fiber. Since the electrodes are incorporated into a fabric, which can let the air through, users can feel less discomfort or stress when their skin is in close contact with the fabric for a long time for electromyography, etc.

The NEDO Project (NEDO Green Sensor Network System Project) is:

a Japanese industry-academia collaborative project, which has developed revolutionary new sensors that incorporate wireless communication, a stand-alone power source function and ultra-low power consumption, which are issues common to all sensor networks.


Development of a floor material for bathrooms

Structure of a fiber solar cell

By employing our technologies for blending olefin materials and forming sheets that we have established through the development of products such as OH film, a simple slip-preventing film for vehicles, we have developed a new floor material for bathroom units which satisfies various requirements for bathrooms, such as proper flexibility and hydrophilicity.

With deliveries starting in the fiscal year ended May 2015, this film contributed to our overall sales throughout the fiscal year ended May 2016.
We will continue to develop floor materials for bathrooms with more sophisticated functions.

Olefin materials are:

materials similar to wood and paper, composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which generate little smoke or toxic gas when incinerated, being friendly to both humans and the environment.


Business alliance with the aim of developing the world's highest-level quality carpet tiles with even further improved environmental performance

In May 2015, the Company concluded a business partnership agreement with Aquafil S.p.A, the largest nylon manufacturer in Italy capable of producing 100% recycled nylon. Both the Company and Aquafil have adopted the "horizontal recycling" system, which allows recycling between the same products, thus resulting in recycling technologies that are particularly eco-friendly, efficient and sophisticated.


This partnership will therefore create an enhanced synergy between our "ECOS®", eco-friendly carpet tiles under the "horizontal recycling" system, which has already achieved a world top-class material recycling rate, and Aquafil's 100% recycled nylon "ECONYL®".
In July, the Company has developed and launched its new world highest-level nylon carpet tiles with further improved environmental performance.

Horizontal recycling is:
the type of recycling in which materials are recycled into the same product repeatedly.

a 100% recycled nylon fiber produced by chemically processing used fish nets, etc. collected for recycling.

ECOS Aquafillogo

Aquafil S.p.A

Established: 1969
Main Office: Italy
Major businesses: Manufacture and sales of BCF fiber for floor carpets and NTF fiber for apparel


Automotive Textile business: Further acceleration of overseas business development

Talking about overseas business activities, mainly the Automotive Textiles business, the Company has been aggressively expanding its business in the U.S., China, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Mexico.
In February 2015, the Company converted PT.Sinar Suminoe Indonesia, a joint venture engaged in the automobile interior business in Indonesia, into its subsidiary, so as to further improve mobility in overseas operations. In March, the Company moved the plant of its Mexican subsidiary to a site over three times the size of the former one, and newly introduced needle punch production lines, enabling the launch of the needle-punched carpet business in addition to the existing mat business.
In June, Suminoe Textile of America Corp. (STA), a U.S. subsidiary of the Company, acquired 100% of the shares of Bondtex, Inc., a company engaged in urethane-laminating automotive interior materials, making it a subsidiary of STA.
Acquisition of Bondtex will enable STA to expand its business areas through vertical integration of operations, increase sales channels with the U.S.-based automobile manufacturers in addition to Japan-based manufacturers, and promote sales of new materials, such as artificial leather and PVC.
Efforts will be continued to further expand shares in overseas markets.


Recent overseas activities

May 2013 Established Suminoe Textile de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (STM)
October 2013 Established PT. Suminoe Surya Techno
February 2015 Made PT.Sinar Suminoe Indonesia a consolidated subsidiary
March 2015 Expanded STM plant
June 2015 Acquired Bondtex, Inc. and made it a consolidated subsidiary


Bondtex, Inc.

Established: 1986
Main Office: South Carolina, the U.S.
Major businesses: Urethane laminating of automotive seat fabrics and ceiling materials
  Manufacture and sales of medical materials


About Sumisho Airbag Systems Co., Ltd.

Sumisho Airbag Systems Co., Ltd., a company manufacturing side-curtain airbags and 33.3% of whose shares are owned by the Company, is substantially expanding its sales.
As Sumisho Airbag Systems has been operating at full capacity due to an increase in orders received as well as the weakening yen, it is expected to maintain good performance and contribute to the increased income (ordinary income) of the Company for the year ending May 2015.


About side-curtain airbag
A side-curtain airbag opens like a curtain between the side window and the passenger’s head to protect the passenger’s head and neck from side collision and injury from scattering of the window glass.


Sumisho Airbag Systems Co., Ltd.
Corporate Summary
Established: November, 2004
Capital: 1,500 millions of yen

Investment Ratio: Sumitomo Corporation 64.7%
  Suminoe Textile Co., Ltd. 33.3%
  Asahi Kasei Fibers Corporation 2.0%

Net Sales: 6,645 millions of yen (Fiscal Year 2014)
Net Income: 862 millions of yen (Fiscal Year 2014)

Delivery Destination: Autoliv Inc.
  Key Safety Systems Inc.


ECOS® wins various awards; exports expanded

In January 2014, the Company received the LCA Society of Japan Encouragement Prize at the 10th LCA Society of Japan Award Ceremony held under the sponsorship of the LCA Society of Japan for its efforts to develop and disseminate the ECOS® series. In February 2014, ECOS® won the grand prize at ECHO CITY Product Award 2013 Ceremony, which Nikkei Architecture and Nikkei Home Builder created.
Since its launch, ECOS® has won many awards for its superior environmental performance. With its sales growing, ECOS® has become one of the Company's mainstay products. Since its demand has increased not only in Japan but also overseas, the Company has been aggressively exporting the product to overseas markets.



Celebration of the 100th Anniversary

On December 25, 2013, the Company celebrated its 100th anniversary, thanks greatly to your warm patronage. We thank you very much from the bottom of our heart.
Over the past 100 years, various challenges faced us, such as the oil crisis, collapse of the bubble economy, Lehman’s fall, and great earthquakes. It is truly the cooperation, patronage, and guidance of our customers, shareholders, business partners, employees,and all the other people concerned with the Company that have enabled us to survive all these turbulent years and celebrate the milestone year of our 100th anniversary.
During the year ending May 2014, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Company, we issued an anniversary booklet, opened a commemorative website “The Story of Suminoe”, created commemorative logos, and increased the amount of dividend payment by 1.0 yen per share as the celebration dividend. The contents of the commemorative booklet and website include the history of Suminoe Textile and the words of our president presented in an interview.
The year ending May 2015 marks the 101st year, the beginning of a new century for our Group. In this rapidly changing business environment, it is crucial to quickly identify market needs by always having the customer’s standpoint in mind, and seeing from the customer’s viewpoint. All members of the Company will keep this in mind and make united efforts to enhance competitiveness for further growth, with the aim of establishing a revenue base to make new history.



Automotive Textiles business:Establishing new bases to expand sales in overseas markets

Talking about overseas business activities, mainly the Automotive Textiles business, the Company has been aggressively expanding its business in the U.S., China, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and Mexico. In 2013, it newly established local subsidiaries in Mexico and Indonesia and began manufacturing car mats.
Today, overseas sales account for nearly 50% of the Automotive Textiles business turnover. The Company will continue striving to expand sales in overseas markets.


PT. Suminoe Surya Techno



Suminoe Nakacho Device Technology Corporation operation starts

As public interest in environmental issues is rising worldwide, there are growing expectations on renewable energy that places minimal burden on the environment, especially solar cells. Suminoe Textile, jointly with Nakamura Choukou Co., Ltd., a company possessing the technology to manufacture diamond saw wires and special precision equipment, established Suminoe Nakacho Device Technology Corporation (NSDT) to start in September 2013 slice processing of crystal silicon ingots, known as one of the most important processes for manufacturing solar cells. For slicing of silicon ingots, the loose-grain method is generally adopted, which accounts for 70% of world production, while NSDT adopts the fixed abrasive grain method using diamond saw wires, which can substantially reduce environmental burden.


This enables NSDT, along with its world’s top level technological capability, to manufacture high-quality wafer products efficiently and stably.


Suminoe Nakacho Device Technology Corporation
Corporate Summary
Main Office: 11-20, Minami-Semba 3-Chome, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Factory: 3-7, Ayumino 2-Chome, Izumi-shi, Osaka
Capital: 310 millions of yen
Employees: 52 (as of May 31, 2014)


Bronze Prize Won at Eco Mark Awards 2012 in Recognition of ECOS®

At the Eco Mark Awards 2012 held by the Eco Mark Office of the Japan Environment Association in February 2013, we received a Bronze Prize in recognition of our efforts to develop and spread the ECOS® series, our closed-loop recycling carpet tiles. Our endeavor to develop the ECOS® series under the theme "Resources for the future" coincides with the concept of the Eco Mark program, which enabled us to win the prize. The ECOS® series, which was first launched in the market two years ago, has now become the main product of our interior business. Not only will we promote the series domestically, but we will also actively export it to foreign markets.

ECOS Double Recycle System

"closed-loop recycling"
The type of recycling in which materials are recycled into the same product repeatedly.


“ECOS” recycled carpet tiles
became the first product to obtain Eco Mark certification under the new certification criteria.

ECOS recycled carpet tiles, launched July 2011, became the first product to obtain Eco Mark certification under the new certification criteria. Adopting the concept of “closed-loop recycling” for the first time, the new certification criteria requires that each product satisfy both of the following criteria: 1) post-consumer recycled materials derived from used carpet tiles contained in the product account for 10% or more of the overall product mass, and 2) overall post-consumer recycled materials contained in the product account for 25% or more of the overall product mass.

ECOS Double Recycle System

ECOS, in which recycled materials derived from used carpet tiles are used for backing, is a world’s top class eco-friendly product whose recycled material content is as high as 77%. ECOS became first in the industry to acquire certification under the new criteria. The entire Suminoe Group is determined to work on developing environmentally friendly products, advocating the key phrase “resources for the future.”

“closed-loop recycling”
The type of recycling in which materials are recycled into the same product repeatedly.


“ECOS” Recycled Carpet Tiles New Release

Suminoe Textile has recently installed new dedicated production facilities for manufacturing carpet tiles from recycled materialsmade from the used carpet tiles. As a result of this large-scale investment, one of the company's largest ever capital expenditures, Suminoe Textile is now ready to engage in full-scale production and sale of ECOS tiles.


ECOS carpet tiles boast a number of beneficial features,
(1) The achievement of up to 77% post-consumer recycled content, a significantly higher percentage than the Eco Mark environmental labeling requirement. Product safety is ensured by strict verification and clear disclosure of the origins of the recycled materials.
(2) A carbon footprint reduction of up to 43% compared to the company's existing products (according to an LCA assessment by Mizuho Information & Research Institute).

ECOS Double Recycle System

(3) Competitive pricing achieved by the avoidance of a "green premium," a common disadvantage of many recycled products.
Broad efforts to realize a lowcarbon, resource-recycling economy and, ultimately, a sustainable society are expected to pick up even greater momentum in the future, and ECOS carpet tiles can make a positive contribution in this respect. Under the theme of "Conserving resources for future generations," the new product line has established an eco -friendly value chain, which starts with the collection of used carpet tiles, moves through the recycling, manufacturing and sale of recycled carpet tiles, their use by consumers, and back to collection.


An article appeared by South China Morning Post


South China Morning Post, a prestigious daily English-language newspaper published in Hong Kong since 1903, recently carried a feature article with an interview to introduce our Group's production of environmentally friendly products.