Research & Development
Research & development strategies and policies
Our motto in developing and proposing products is "Put our head together with customers and resolve issues." We bring out the potential of clay considered to have 1,000 uses with our technologies and provide products appropriate for customers' needs.
Structure for collaboration
Vertical collaboration in the process of new product development ranging from basic research and applied development to product proposal is realized by conducting joint research with universities and public research institutes, making proposals for and serving customers, and conducting joint research with them as needed. In addition, lateral collaboration between the Iwaki Laboratory engaged in applied development and the Kuroiso Laboratory engaged in analysis and basic research enables prompt development.
Based on application of six core technologies that take advantage of the properties of clay, our products are used in various fields. Recently, progress has been made in new applied development combining core and peripheral technologies, and the clay has been used in an increasingly wider range of fields including the functional materials field.
Examples of development in new fields
Research & development story: Introduction
Clay minerals, which have a high affinity for organic substances, are said to be the origin of life in the primitive earth.
It is known that the surface of clay has catalytic ability and adsorption ability. Currently, it is believed that organic substances are adsorbed to the surface of clay in hydrothermal vents to cause formation, accumulation, polymerization, and other reactions of biomolecules. Generally, a place where such a reaction takes place is called a magic surface, which may be a key to solving the mystery of the beginning of life.
Research & development story: Background
The development of medicine is supported by the development of testing equipment and new pharmaceuticals. The process of developing a new pharmaceutical begins with a structural analysis of the target, which requires crystallized materials. If the target is an unknown protein, it takes an immense amount of time and effort to find the crystallization conditions.
We came up with the idea that if we can take advantage of the properties of clay minerals, which are said to be the origin of life, to promote and control the crystallization of proteins, the speed of development of pharmaceuticals can be increased dramatically.
We carried out material development and evaluation tests simultaneously with the cooperation of Tokyo University of Science.
When the origin of life is mentioned, natural clay may come to your mind. We have various kinds of natural clay with globally unique properties. However, because there was a need to design a material itself in order to control the properties as desired or obtain desired properties, we used our own synthetic clay as a material for development this time.
|Protein type||Molecular weight（kDa）||Isoelectric point||Electric charge||Number of days required for crystallization|
Heterogeneous nucleation of protein crystals on fluorinated layered silicate. PLoS ONE. Vol6, Issue7, e22582, July, 2011.
Crystallization of a protein was an unknown territory that we had not entered, and we had to do demonstrations under various conditions and reflect the results of those demonstrations in material development, and faced a lot of difficulties.
However, researchers' strong desires to contribute to the development of new pharmaceuticals and to take on new challenges in the unknown territory enabled us to overcome these difficulties, and finally, a new product, ACCELL CORE, was completed.
Using ACCELL CORE in the process of crystallization makes it possible to crystallize proteins that could not be crystallized previously, and significantly reduces the time required for crystallization.
The potential of ACCELL CORE is still growing.
ACCELL CORE will further grow in the future through customization to suit various needs, such as pharmaceuticals that can selectively promote crystallization of a certain target, or those that work on a wider range of targets.
We will continue to pursue the potential of clay minerals and contribute to society by taking advantage of their unique properties.
Research & development facilities
The Kuroiso Laboratory always accepts requests for contracted evaluation tests and analyses on bentonite.
|Field||Item||Equipment available / used|
|Properties of bentonite||Water content|
|Amount of methylene blue adsorption|
|Amount of leaching cations|
|Cation exchange capacity|
|Chemical composition||X-ray fluorescence spectrometer|
|Mineral identification||Powder X-ray diffractometer|
|Differential thermal analysis||Differential thermal analysis equipment|
|Electron-microscopic surface observation||Scanning electron microscope|
|Electron-microscopic composition analysis||Energy dispersion X-ray analyzer|
|Particle size distribution (wet / dry)||Laser diffraction particle size analyzer|
|Full-automatic sonic sieving particle size analyzer (Robot Sifter)|
|True specific gravity||Dry automatic densimeter|
|Specific surface area||Surface area measuring instrument|
|Ion quantification||Atomic absorption spectrophotometer|
|Ion quantification||Ion chromatograph|
The laboratory also conducts contracted tests and analyses in special fields related to bentonite on a routine basis.
|Field||Test item||Test details|
|Green sand for casting||Green sand test||Compactability|
|Green compression strength|
|Moisture-condensed layer tensile strength|
|Silica program||Total clay|
|Hydrofluoric acid solubles|
|Particle size distribution|
|Residual ratio of starch|
|Civil engineering and building foundations||Viscosity test||B-type viscometer|
|Soil test||Soil particle density|
|Liquid limit, plastic limit|
|Pets||Cat litter test||Apparent specific gravity|
|Cat litter solidification test|
In addition to conducting contracted tests and analyses, the laboratory holds courses for green sand engineers. Over 120 courses have been held, starting 30 years ago.
The Iwaki Laboratory always accepts requests for various kinds of granulation and contracted development of refined clay or synthetic clay.
|Field||Item||Major equipment available / used|
Silicate mineral synthesis
|Lipophilization treatment plant|
|Hydrothermal synthesis device|
|Vacuum emulsification device|
|Cation exchange equipment|
|Wet grinding mill|
|Vibrated membrane filtration system|
|Vertical / horizontal extrusion granulator|
|High-speed agitation granulator|