Kuraray Recognized as one of Germany’s Top Innovative SMEs by ‘stern’ Magazine
German weekly magazine ‘stern’ has unveiled its prestigious list of the 500 most innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany. Partnering with the German Society for Consumer Studies (DtGV), the magazine utilized a data-driven methodology to identify the companies driving innovation in the country. Among these esteemed innovators is Kuraray, a global leader in specialty chemicals. This recognition highlights Kuraray’s exceptional contributions to the industry and its commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation.
Unveiling Germany’s Hidden Champions
‘stern’ magazine, in collaboration with DtGV, sought to shed light on the hidden champions, the often lesser-known global market leaders, that fuel Germany’s prosperity through their pioneering spirit. By evaluating patent performance and relevance to the economy’s innovation landscape, the list aims to showcase the dynamic and visionary SMEs that are instrumental to Germany’s economic growth.
An Objective Evaluation Process
The evaluation process focused on the “patent performance” of the candidate companies, considering the number of patents granted and their impact on driving innovation in the economy. The assessment period ranged from October 2021 to September 2022. To ensure a comprehensive evaluation, patents were examined based on their citations in other patents and the frequency of mentions in related patents, generating a score value that accurately represented their significance.
Excellence Across Industries
Companies were categorized into 30 distinct industries, ranging from drive technology to toolmaking. Notably, companies were not allowed to apply for inclusion in the list; the methodology was exclusively developed by the independent DtGV Institute in collaboration with the ‘stern’ editorial team. The evaluation centered solely on the companies themselves, rather than their individual products.
Kuraray’s Innovations in Glass Technology
Kuraray, renowned for its advancements in specialty chemicals, showcased its innovation prowess through multiple patent families. One notable breakthrough addresses the opaque black coating traditionally applied to automotive windshields, protecting the sealant and bond from harmful UV light. Kuraray’s patent application introduces a revolutionary process that enables the direct printing of black ink onto a thin film bonded to the safety glass, streamlining the manufacturing process and facilitating the integration of sensors required for autonomous vehicles.
Another patent application focuses on the integration of “invisible” watermarks into laminated safety glass, serving as proof of origin or batch designations. Leveraging the unique properties of interlayers composed of films with different refractive indices, Kuraray’s invention allows for the visibility of patterns, such as watermarks or product names, when illuminated from the edges or sides. This breakthrough, made possible through the application of 3D printing technology, ensures accurate product identification and offers exciting possibilities for branding or decorative applications.
Kuraray: Championing Innovation
The European research and development center of Kuraray’s “Advanced Interlayer Solutions Division” serves as the birthplace for these groundbreaking inventions. As part of the esteemed Kuraray Group in Japan, the division focuses on producing interlayers for laminated safety glass while contributing to various industries such as architecture, construction, healthcare, printing, paints, electronics, and more.
Kuraray’s commitment to innovation and its impressive contributions to the glass industry demonstrate the company’s drive to revolutionize the market and enhance our daily lives. With its visionary approach and dedication to research and development, Kuraray solidifies its position as one of Germany’s most innovative companies.
Source: Kuraray Europe GmbH with additional information added by Apazone