Site: Fujitsu Limited
Kawasaki Research & Manufacturing Facilities
Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Pref. 211, Japan
Date Visited: October 22, 1992
Report Author: N. Helm
Mr. Tomoyoshi Yamashita
Mr. Takao Hara
Mr. Hiroshi Kurihara
Mr. Yukio Takeda
Mr. Aoki Shinichiro
Mr. Takashi Itoh
Fujitsu originated as an electric company. Fujitsu Limited, the parent company, and its approximately 100 subsidiaries have a total annual sales, as of March, 1992, of $25.9 billion, an increase of 16% over the previous year. Nevertheless, income of $91.8 million was down 85%, due primarily to the semiconductor and overall recession. 73% of sales are derived from computers, 13% from telecommunications equipment and 10% from components and microchips. The number of Fujitsu employees increased from 145,900 to 155,800. Fujitsu Laboratories has facilities in Kawasaki and Atsugi, approximately 1,600 employees and a capital base of approximately $417 million.
Fujitsu is shifting its business emphasis from hardware to software and services. It has also increased international cooperation through its partnership with ICL PLC in the U.K., resulting in an increased penetration of the European computer market. In fiscal 1991, Fujitsu prototyped the world's first ultra-high-speed asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switching module, using a HEMT large scale integrated circuit (LSIC) chip, and developed software for ATM switching and multimedia applications. During the same period, Fujitsu also produced the world's first CMOS vector-processing LSIC, to put a supercomputer on a chip.
The following R&D activities were covered in the Fujitsu briefing:
Fujitsu is performing advanced space technology in five areas:
Computer Systems and OBPs. Specific developments in computers and OBPs include the data processor/on-board computer (DP/OBC) for the Solar-A satellite launched in 1991. Operational data from orbit show that the computer is functioning very well. An improved version of the DP/OBC for the ASTRO-D satellite is to be launched in February, 1993.
Space Qualified Microelectronics. Impressive developments being made include commercial space-qualified GaAs FETs and HEMTs. Tables Fujitsu.1 and Fujitsu.2 show development efforts in space-qualified components. The advanced Super HEMT LNA development activities are presently in breadboard configurations and have not been flight-qualified. It is noteworthy that three different customers are supporting HEMT receiver developments by Fujitsu.
Robotics. Development efforts in space robotics experiment systems include work in manned and deep-space missions, but it is noteworthy to also find work in robotics for GEO communications satellites. Fujitsu has a Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)-sponsored contract to supply an onboard "dexterous hand manipulator" robot to be flown on ETS-VII. While the robot will do simple tasks such as replacing a screw, it is the first example of robotics in-orbit repairs for communications satellites known to this author.
Solid State Power Amplifiers for Space Application
The 38 GHz solid state power amplifier will be used in the NEC mm-wave experiment on ETS-VI, and thus will be space-qualified.
Advanced Super-HEMT LNA for Space Application
Fujitsu is developing earth terminal and system equipment for satellite data broadcasting. It is concentrating on this one-way low cost data distribution application rather than two-way terminals for VSAT voice or point-of-sales terminals. A pilot model of one such satellite data receiving terminal was discussed, and a technical paper on a slightly different (perhaps earlier) design was also provided. Both designs propose a Ku-band terminal using a 60 cm diameter offset parabolic antenna. One design uses 2 Mbits/sec BPSK modulation in a network using 5 MHz bandwidth slots. At least four such data networks can thus be configured in a 27 MHz transponder.
This broadcast data system is envisioned for use in a wide range of applications, including financial (e.g., stock prices), educational (e.g., special courses), business (e.g., CAD/CAM data base updates, video with office PCs, and home shopping), and emergency services (e.g., if a disastrous earth quake destroys most of the terrestrial network). Fujitsu will install some 140 terminals at its own factories and branch offices in Japan. The system uses a 5 m central transmitting antenna and could address up to 100,000 separate locations in a point to multi-point configuration. The system will have ongoing encryption to maintain subscriber integrity and for use in billing.
Advanced video codec development work was described, beginning in the 64 kbits/sec and low Mbits/sec range for teleconferencing and video phone applications, then progressing up to HDTV quality at 60 to 130 Mbits/sec rates for transmission over future ATM B-ISDN (broadband ISDN) networks. Both codec projects are important for their advanced technologies; but more importantly, they are moving rigorously through the fundamental development stages required to bring large volume consumer products to the marketplace.
Fujitsu Limited is a large, dynamic company that is similar to NEC, but dissimilar to American companies, in that it produces both computers and communications equipment. Fujitsu Labs is doing advanced work in space and communications, especially in microelectronics. It is noteworthy that planning and R&D are focused on a small number of projects that are well funded and directed towards large applications programs where the final results are systems and products that can access large markets.