Taking on the challenge of even higher value-added proprietary products that offer antifungal and antibacterial effects even in the darkopus Co.,Ltd
Yutaka Adachi, General Manager of Business Development Department, Operations Division No. 3, OPUS Corporation
OPUS Corporation has created Advanced Coat, a product which is effective even in dark conditions where conventional antifungal and antibacterial agents are not effective. OPUS also continues to pursue even higher added value after developing Advanced Coat. We spoke with Yutaka Adachi of OPUS regarding how the company arrived at his new value from the core business of building maintenance, as well as how the company effectively utilizes New Value Creation Exhibition for business growth.
Also important to clarify the mechanism of effects
Conventional antifungal and antibacterial agents utilize the antibacterial action of photocatalyst. These agents have the disadvantage of failing to be sufficiently effective in dark places where ultraviolet light does not reach. Advanced Coat is an antibacterial agent provided by OPUS. Instead of using ultraviolet rays, Advanced Coat utilizes natural radiation, which is present in almost part of the world. Therefore, it provides antifungal, antibacterial, and deodorant effects even in the dark.
"Places such as basements lack sunlight and also tend to accumulate moisture. Therefore, mold tends to grow. Advanced Coat is perfect for such places. Furthermore, the effect lasts a long time. As a result of verification experiments, we confirmed that the effect was maintained even one year after spraying. There are also sites where Advanced Coat has been effective for seven years."
Photograph comparing the degree of contamination after one year under the same conditions when Advanced Coat was applied and when not applied. When Advanced Coat was applied, the degree of contamination was a low 22RLU*. When not applied, the degree of contamination reached 6,082 RLU.
*RLU is a unit of luminescence used in the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) measurement method for checking the degree of contamination. The higher the value, the higher the level of contamination.
Despite having developed this high added value product, the core business of OPUS is actually building maintenance; specifically, cleaning, repairs, and management of buildings. How did OPUS achieve such innovation?
"We wanted to make more effective antibacterial agents for building maintenance than conventional products. Therefore, we began research and development with development manufacturers. Eventually, we were able to complete a product with antifungal and antibacterial properties even in the absence of light. Initially, we didn't understand why the product is effective, so it didn't sell well."
Amidst such circumstances, the company met a researcher from Kyusho Sangyo University at a certain exhibition. The researcher posited the following explanation: "Perhaps the product responds to natural radiation?" While utilizing subsidy programs of Miyagi Prefecture and Sendai City, OPUS conduct surveys and analysis to verify this hypothesis. As a result, the effect of using natural radiation as a catalyst was confirmed.
"When we presented this data at an academic conference, it then became available in the media. However, regardless of the actual effectiveness of the product, this data alone was still not persuasive enough. Clarifying the mechanisms is of the utmost importance."
Creating even more value through collaboration with different industries
OPUS first exhibited at the New Value Creation Exhibition in 2017. OPUS operated a joint booth*with other corporations selected by Miyagi Prefecture.
"Around this time, we exchanged business cards and stayed in contact with business partners, which lead to more sales. Additionally, we acquired firsthand insight on the high potential of matching with products from other companies. Based on that, OPUS decided that we would operate our own booth during the next year, 2018."
Encounters at the exhibition are now on the verge of creating new value.
"Actually, Advanced Coat had the problem of weak adhesion to resin products. At the New Value Creation Exhibition 2018, we met with Murakami Co., Ltd., a Kyoto-based company which possesses technology for dyeing resin products. We are currently conducting research on using this technology to apply Advanced Coat to resin products. The research has already progressed to data analysis by universities and third parties, with excellent results."
Furthermore, with the aim of expanding Advanced Coat to wood, OPUS also continues to collaborate with Maruoka Co., Ltd., a manufacturer specializing in canvas crates.
"Actually, OPUS was matched with both of these companies by an advisor from the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation. Unlike general exhibitions, the New Value Creation Exhibition has the advantage of meeting people from different industries. I believe that there is a great possibility that these meetings will lead to high added-value products. However, in the case of companies from different industries, it is difficult to foresee which matching will lead to new value. At the New Value Creation Exhibition, the advisors provide helpful guidance. Their assistance is invaluable in meeting people from other industries that our company would never identify on our own."
OPUS also had many new meetings at New Value Creation Exhibition 2019. Discussions are already in progress with some companies. Finally, when asked about how to make good use of the New Value Creation Exhibition, Adachi answered as follows.
"Some SMEs may hesitate to exhibit because they don't know where to start, or they may be afraid of spending money on an exhibition that ends in failure. However, I especially recommend the New Value Creation Exhibition to such SMEs. First, the New Value Creation Exhibition is priced more reasonably when compared to other exhibitions, and exhibitors receive support from advisors. Furthermore, you can expect to add high value to your products through collaboration with different industries. I believe that the New Value Creation Exhibition provides benefits which are unavailable at other exhibitions."
*At the New Value Creation Exhibition 2017, exhibited in the Miyagi Organization for Industry Promotion zone.
Coverage date January 23, 2020
Yutaka Adachi, General Manager of Business Development Department, Operations Division No. 3
OPUS Corporation was established in 1992 as a comprehensive building management company that cleans, repairs, and manages various types of buildings. Together with manufacturers, OPUS conducts R&D aimed at improving the performance of antifungal and antibacterial agents used in business. In 2016, OPUS presented research entitled “Natural Radiation Catalyst Advanced Coat” at an academic conference held by The Japanese Society of Clinical Ecology.
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