Unitika is just over twenty years old. The company was formed in 1970 through the merging of Nichibo, a fiber producer founded in 1889, and Nippon Rayo, a fiber and plastics producer founded in 1926. The current research and development center in Uji was opened in 1939 (Nichibo). Current business in Unitika is divided into eleven divisional lines:
New Business Development
Fibers and Textile #1
Fibers and Textile #2
Construction and Real Estate
Synthetic Spun Textile
The research philosophy at Unitika is to maintain current business and extend into new areas that are considered viable long-term opportunities. Biodegradable polymers, particularly for fibers, are seen as such an opportunity. This opportunity is being exploited in the Fine Chemicals, Nonwovens, Plastics, and Synthetic Fibers divisions.
- The company has well thought-out goals developed through understanding its available options.
- Unitika is open to new ideas and has very active collaborations outside the company.
- The company projects that biodegradable plastics will probably only comprise a niche market.
- Unitika has a serious concern about costs, and believes this to be very limiting for the market.
- Company representatives express honest doubt, and are reserving decisions and commitment to biodegradables to a later date.
- The company considers biodegradability to be total removability from the environment.
Published: March 1995; WTEC Hyper-Librarian