The manufacture of zirconium compounds requires an abundance of water, and the Fukui Site (Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture) and the Gotsu Site (Gotsu City, Shimane Prefecture) receive their supplies of industrial water from the Kuzuryu River system and the Gonokawa River system respectively. In order to protect the environment and to continue to be a company that co-exists and co-prospers with the local community, we are sincerely tackling the processing of the water that we use in the manufacture of zirconium compounds.
An ammonia stripping device is a piece of equipment meant to eliminate ammonia (the water-soluble nitrogen compound that causes red tide). At Daiichi Kigenso Kagaku Kogyo, we run our drainage water through this device, removing any ammonia that has dissolved in the water, so that any water that leaves our facilities is safe. The removed ammonia is itself a valuable resource, so it is recovered and refined before once again being used in the production of zirconium compounds.
A fuel cell is an electricity generation system that extracts the electricity generated by the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, allowing for the generation of electrical energy to be maintained even if the supply of grid power is shut off due to a natural disaster or the like. At our Fukui Site, we have installed solid oxide fuel cells equipped with zirconia-based materials produced in-house by Daiichi Kigenso Kagaku Kogyo.
The hydrogen needed for power generation is produced by running the liquefied natural gas (LNG) stored in the tanks in the plant through a vaporizer and reformer. This then reacts with oxygen from the atmosphere to generate electricity. The only by-product of the generation of electricity in these fuel cells is water vapor, making it an extremely clean system for electricity generation. What’s more, priority is given to delivering the electricity thus generated to the equipment that protects safety and the environment, and fulfills the important role of serving as an emergency power source.
At our Vietnamese subsidiary, VREC, we have established Japanese language classes from elementary to advanced level, and more and more employees have acquired a Nihongo Kentei qualification. We have also heard of various delightful anecdotes such as those in the Japanese class studying at home and, as a result, their children also picking up the language.
In fiscal 2019, 14 VREC employees (nine in production, three in inspection and analysis and two in maintenance ) took part in an on-site training program in the Fukui Site. Before they went back to Vietnam, they learned a wide range of things such as the ideas of PDCA and “the next step is the customer,” our improvement activities in Japan, inspection and analysis services, maintenance methods for equipment, and so on. They are already putting the knowledge they gained into use for factory operations in VREC. By turning it into an opportunity for mutual linguistic and cultural exchange and facilitating communication, this also provided an opportunity for the employees on the Japanese side in charge of teaching to learn a great many things for themselves.