Site: Shimizu Corporation
No. 2-3, Shibaura 1-chome,
Tokyo 105-07, Japan
Date Visited: December 11, 1992
Report Author: D. Granville
Dr. Toshiaki Fujimori
Mr. Minoru Sugita
Mr. Takatoshi Ueno
Mr. Kenichi Sekine
Mr. Mohi U. Ahmed
Shimizu Corp., one of the largest architect/engineering/construction firms in Japan, is the leader in the application of composites in the construction industry. Shimizu was founded in 1804 and provides architecture, property development (living and working environments), engineering, and construction. They employ 4,500 architects and engineers. Examples of their accomplishments include the New Tokyo Metropolitan Building complex, Kansai International Airport, dams, Tokyo Gas Works, Kashiwazaki Nuclear Power Plant, and the Great American Plaza and Resort Hotels.
In 1987, Shimizu established a space construction office for NASA. This endeavor will include concept design and construction materials. They are considering circular dams for the ocean and desert living sites.
Shimizu's composite construction products include "NEFMAC," a reinforcement for concrete (carbon, glass and aramid formed as an integrated mesh), which is resistant to the chemicals in concrete and therefore corrosion. This system is dependent on the mechanical interfacing of the grid to the concrete, but can reduce the volume of concrete required for strength. NEFMAC is non-magnetic but is most importantly, light weight. It can be layed in and held using air-powered staple guns. Although the cost is three to five times that of re-bar, it requires one- third the labor cost, has lower transportation and lower maintenance costs.
"NESTEM," an FRP geogrid, is produced for road reinforcement and stabilization as well as embankments, retainments and foundations (especially useful in arctic regions because its low weight transportation costs are drastically reduced). It also has many marine applications, e.g., for oil platforms, underwater structures, and pontoons.
Shimizu is engaged in R&D efforts in a wide variety of fields, including materials research ranging from underground to space construction applications, intelligent buildings, and more. See the JTEC report on construction technology in Japan (1991) for further information. Activities described below and elsewhere in this report relate only to applications of polymer composites.
NEFMAC and NESTEM grids have specifications for graphite and Kevlar. Both use continuous forming. Batch forming can be accomplished by manual layup for any size grid.
Shimizu is forming design committees for building construction to develop "Design Codes" by setting up a consortium with goals and newly updated property tests. R&D activities include FEA structural analyses using computer controlled structural member testing for new construction materials, modeling and simulation codes. The development of vibration damping/dissipation composites of multi-layered rubber and then metal plates in building foundation is being pursued.
Discussions during the JTEC team's visit included the Shimizu suppliers (Asahi, Toray, and Nippon Steel) and new market opportunities. Shimizu's current market for NEFMAC is about $2 million/year.
New opportunities include the development of automated materials handling and dispensing equipment for fabricating, transporting, and installing NEFMAC and NESTEM composite grids for underground tunnels, storage tanks, building walls, etc.
Shimizu Corporation. 1992. "R&D Research and Development" (brochure).
Shimizu annual report and corporate data till March 31, 1992.