Site: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Industrial Electronics & System Laboratory (IESL)
8-1-1, Tsukaguchi-honmachi,
Amagasaki City, Hyogo 661
Japan
Date Visited: 30 May 1997
Hosts: Dr. Toshio Yoshida, Manager, Factory Automation Systems Department
Dr. Nobumasa Nakano, Chief Engineer
Mr. Takao Bamba, Manager IMS Group (arranged meeting)
Tel: 81 6497 7194 (FAX: 81 6497 7726)
e-mail: bamba@fas.sdl.melco.co.jp
Dr. Shinjiro Kawato, Senior Researcher

BACKGROUND

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) was established in 1921, and the first research unit was created in 1935. As it approaches the 21st century, the President of Mitsubishi, Takashi Kitaoka, has offered the following message to the public: Mitsubishi, he said in Corporate Profile, a company news publication, is aggressively pursuing its vision of

At present there are approximately 4,000 Mitsubishi researchers working in 14 laboratories - 9 in Japan, 3 in the U.S., and 2 in Europe. MELCO has a dedicated telecommunications network linking all of its operations, as well as universities and research institutes worldwide, to ensure rapid integration of technologies. Research is performed in almost all areas, ranging from electronics and new materials to new energy sources and biotechnology. R&D is performed in four corporate laboratories plus six business units. This most recent reorganization occurred 2 years ago, and business and research units now often overlap and include staff from other divisions. This is in part a reorganization to recognize the changing times affecting all companies in Japan, as they cope with the difficult economic situation on one hand and globalization of their activities on the other hand. Dr. Nakahori specifically cited in the IESL 1996 report three key words that he said were important for IESL's future in the Mitsubishi family:

  1. Identity: We should make much greater effort to identify ourselves. Identity will create something to "give."

  2. Perception: We should elaborate on the ability to recognize others. Perception will expose something to "take."

  3. Harmony: We should acquire the skills to develop good relations. Harmony will realize true collaboration on a "give and take" basis.

Business units include products and services in the following areas:

This visit was to Mitsubishi's Industrial Electronics & Systems Laboratory (IESL). IESL was created in 1974. Its mission is to develop new systems for both industrial and public use, as well as electronics. For many years the policy at MELCO was to have IESL operate within the Mitsubishi family, but as part of a move by MELCO to globalize its operations, IESL has aggressively moved to develop relations and joint projects with other MELCO organizations, as well as outside R&D organizations. IESL has about 250 employees

Departments within IESL include the following:

The last four units are closely linked to business areas; the first three departments are more generic R&D organizations. IESL's recent policy is to apply approximately 60% of its resources to the four business units. An additional 20% of its resources it will be applied toward developing new products and systems. The remaining 20% of its resources will be applied to research and study of new technologies that could provide a basis for new products and services in the future.

IESL has a number international laboratories and partners, including one in Cambridge Massachusetts, Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory (MERL). Electronic communications have overcome the vast distance between the laboratories and cooperative research is underway, including extended visits by IESL researchers to other Mitsubishi laboratories.


Published: September 1998; WTEC Hyper-Librarian