Special Feature 2016 - Nidec's Medium-term Strategic Goal Vision 2020

2. The Future Has Already Begun

The brushless DC motor for HDDs, which Nidec made commercially usable ahead of other companies in 1979, has facilitated the subsequent miniaturization of computers.
Since then, the Nidec Group’s product portfolio has been expanded to now cover all types of motors—ranging from small precision ones to super-large ones—as well as their peripherals and application products. Just as one small motor changed the future of the computer, the Nidec Group’s products and services will bring drastic changes to people’s lives and society—such a future has already begun.

Shaping the Future Based on the Trinity of Technology, Expertise, and Modern Science

Innovate manufacturing technology based on the trinity of technology, expertise, and modern science
Nidec has been sending HDD motors and many other world-first and -smallest products to the world. All of these products are the result of employees’ passion in the manufacturing workplace and of ideas born there. Nidec’s strength has been its product development system, which can promptly make what the market needs and mass-produce reliable, high-precision products in larger quantities and at lower cost than anywhere else.
Now, as technological innovations represented by IoT, autonomous driving, and service robots advance rapidly, motors, like other products, are required to have unprecedented and innovative functions and performance. This trend prompted us in 2012 to establish Nidec Research and Development Centers in three locations in Asia (Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan), with the aim of becoming a world-leading company by creating unprecedented products like the intelligent motor.
The Nidec Center for Industrial Science was founded in 2015 to establish innovative production technologies in the area of craftsmanship/manufacturing technology. The center aims to launch research and other activities that realize smart factories where robots, independent of humans, will think and operate by themselves.
Going forward, Nidec will practice the trinity of technology, expertise, and modern science described in its Mission Statement, while innovating its craftsmanship/manufacturing technology based on three core elements: Nidec Research and Development Centers that create new technologies based on fundamental scientific research; development engineering departments that use their high technological capabilities to promptly develop products that meet market needs; and the Nidec Center for Industrial Science, which seeks to create new craftsmanship/manufacturing methods at the highest levels of expertise.


The Nidec Group’s Innovative Technologies Offer a New Avenue in the Age of IoT

Nidec’s Solar-powered Irrigation Pump System Contributes to Farmland Expansion in India
India is facing worsening power shortages due to increasing power consumption, while many of its regions remain without electricity at all. In these areas, where electric pumps cannot be used, agricultural lands remain unsuitable for development or active use. At the same time, engine pumps, for which a stable supply of light oil is difficult to secure, generate a large amount of CO2. Responding to the request of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, Nidec developed a high-efficiency solar-powered irrigation pump system that utilizes Nidec’s driving and electricity-charging technologies. Though the system is still in the proof-of-concept experimental stage, Nidec aims for the product’s early diffusion in India, so that it may contribute to the country’s agricultural land expansion. Additionally, Nidec will apply IoT technologies to this system to optimize the pumps’ operations and failure-prognosis functions. It will also collect data from temperature/humidity sensors and other devices and combine them with external weather and other data to help increase India’s agricultural productivity.

▲Solar panels                   ▲Pump system

Building a Smart AGV-based High-efficiency Transportation System
Nidec-Shimpo’s AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) is equipped with a precision reducer and brushless DC motors based on the world’s leading advanced technology. This AGV is smaller and quieter than conventional models, and it operates guidelessly (without the use of magnetic tape on the floor as an operational guide). These high-performance AGVs are widely used in factories, warehouses, and other buildings, as well as for various companies’ logistics systems. Nidec is developing IoT function-equipped smart AGVs, which not only operate guidelessly, but also have other functions such as operating in line and assisting humans with their movements. Additionally, collecting vibration and noise data from smart AGVs’ individual sections makes failure prognosis possible, while collecting and analyzing location and operation data enables the efficient proposal of operation plans.

▲Smart AGV (S-CART)

Tactile Devices Connect Things, Humans, and Destinations
In the age of IoT, where various things are connected with humans, new human-machine interfaces play important roles. The Nidec Group develops tactile devices that feed back various senses during machine operation. The devices are used in PCs, smart watches, smartphones, gaming consoles, and other products. These tactile devices, which provide feedback to a finger when it touches a touch panel, enable two-way, non-visual communications with a digital device. Tactile devices using a false sense of feeling can make users feel as if someone were taking their hand and guiding them to an intended destination. Such sensory interfaces have great potential to be used as support devices for visually impaired people.

Nidec’s FDB*1 Motors Open the Door to the World of VR
VR products are now becoming widely used in games, and other VR products are being created continuously. Nidec’s FDB motors are used in Taiwanese company HTC’s VR systems, which reportedly provide the most advanced VR experience among all commercially available VR devices. A LIDAR*2function is used in this VR system to detect the user’s actual location and movements and to link them to a VR space. Nidec’s FDB motors were chosen for the LIDAR, which requires motors that rotate consistently even at low speeds. LIDAR technology-based business opportunities will expand limitlessly, from VR gaming and other businesses to markets for air conditioners and other appliances, autonomous driving vehicles, robots, and drones. The Nidec Group is poised to further evolve the LIDAR technology and develop new markets.

*1: FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) motor:
 A motor that uses a fluid (oil) for its bearings.
 FDB motors produce low levels of noise and vibration, are highly shock-resistant and durable,
 and consume low levels of power.
*2: LIDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging): A laser-based image-detection and distance-measuring function.



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