Contribute to society through filtration business
Atsuhiko Yamazaki, Representative Director / President
Ever since our company was first established, we have focused on the filter business, in line with our corporate philosophy of
“仕濾過事” (Rokajinitsukafuru) or “Contribute to society through filtration business.” Our main product lines include hydraulic filters for use in construction machinery, and air filters for use in structures such as high-rise buildings. For many years now, we have contributed toward the development of society and worked to support comfortable lifestyles for all. Currently, YAMASHIN-FILTER holds the highest market share in the field of hydraulic filters for construction machinery both in Japan and overseas (70% in Japan, 50% overseas*). Going forward, besides striving to further enhance the performance of our products and ensure stable supply, we will also strive to make a positive contribution to the global environment and to people’s health.
* Domestic: Survey by Yano Research Institute, Ltd.
Overseas: Estimated based on our internal data
A World Leader in the Development of Filter Media
The most important part of a filter is the filter media. In the past, filter paper, made from cellulose fiber, was used in hydraulic filters. Subsequently, however, with the trend toward utilizing high oil pressure in hydraulic systems in construction machinery, there was a need to capture even finer dust, in larger quantities, with lower resistance to fluid passage. In response, our company undertook R&D that led to us becoming the first company in the world to successfully commercialize filters that use glass fibers that are around one-tenth the size of cellulose fibers (around 3 – 10 μm). Our company’s hydraulic filter media for construction machinery are now in use throughout the world.
Following the Oil Shock of 1973, manufacturers of construction machinery further increased the hydraulic pressure in their machines, with the aim of making them more efficient, resulting in a dramatic increase in the adoption of our company’s filters. This also contributed to a substantial decrease in the amount of waste being generated, since filters made from glass fiber had twice the lifespan of traditional filters, and were only about half the size.
In 2017, we successfully completed development of the YAMASHIN NANO FILTER®, a new material made from nanofibers that are less than one-tenth the size of glass fibers (at 0.2 – 0.8 μm and began volume production. This new product further reduces the impact on the environment by realizing a three-fold increase in both the amount of dust trapped and product lifespan.
Filter Products that Make a Positive Contribution to the Environment and to Human Health
We have proceeded with the development of new filter media that further reduce the impact on the environment, commercializing return filters and line filters for use in large-sized construction machinery. In comparison with the lifespan of a conventional glass-fiber filter, which was around 1,000 hours, we have achieved a lifespan of 2,500 hours for our return filters and 2,000 hours for our new line filters, which are made from nanofiber. These new products are contributing to a reduction in the burden placed on the environment by realizing effective utilization of resources (through the reduction in the number of filters that require disposal) and by reducing CO₂ emissions from associated waste disposal.
To achieve a further increase in product lifespan, we are making effective use of information and communications technology (ICT) to commercialize new technology that uses sensors to monitor filter status, and that can predict filter lifespan and determine when filters will need replacing.
Our filters make a positive contribution not only to protecting the environment, but also to safeguarding human health. The NanoWHELP®, which is made from YAMASHIN Nano Filter, is the only medium- to high-performance air filter produced by a Japanese manufacturer that has achieved a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 14*, the highest level for building air-conditioning units. With the growing concern about indoor air quality that has emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our NanoWHELP® has been adopted for use in a wide variety of public buildings, including office buildings, factories and universities.
In late January 2020, when a shortage of masks was becoming a concern in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, YAMASHIN-FILTER decided that “At a time like this, when many people are in difficulties, given that we already have superb nanofilter materials on hand, we cannot justify not making masks.” So we set to work developing masks for consumer use and began selling them in May 2020.
Our high-performance masks, which were developed with strict attention to filter performance, sealing performance and breathability, have been much appreciated. Reflecting our company’s wish to contribute to people’s health, we donated a total of around 700,000 masks to the town of Kamimine in Saga Prefecture and to Yokosuka City, where the production and R&D facilities were located.
* Based on our company’s survey
Promotion of Measures to Realize Carbon Neutrality
The Yamashin Sustainable Solutions (YSS) Committee was established in January 2022. The committee meets once a month, with executive officers representing all departments – including production, R&D, sales and administration – participating in lively strategy discussions aimed at improving the reduction of CO₂ emissions, covering not only production processes but also inter-departmental areas. In addition, in May 2022 the company expressed its support for the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations. Going forward, we will be intensifying relevant initiatives in line with the TCFD Recommendations.
As regards concrete initiatives, we are proceeding steadily with the adoption of renewable energy, for example by adopting the use of electricity derived from renewable energy, or having renewable energy account for all energy usage, at the Yokosuka Media Laboratory and the Saga Branch Office, the Saga Branch Office, our domestic production facility. At Yamashin Cebu Filter Manufacturing Corp. and at the new overseas production facilities that have been established in Vietnam and in the US, we also are implementing rigorous environmental management to reduce the impact on the environment from waste, waste water and CO₂ emissions. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cebu Plant was involved in environmental protection activities such as the replanting of mangrove forests; during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been actively implementing clean-up activities.
At the same time, regarding the raw material pellets used in manufacturing YAMASHIN NANO FILTER®, we are considering a gradual shift away from using virgin material derived from petroleum, such as polyester and polyethylene, towards using recycled material derived from PET bottles, We are also undertaking R&D work on the use of plant-derived plastic, and we will be contributing to the realization of a carbon-neutral and resource-circulating society.
As a company that takes its responsibility to society we are working earnestly to promote environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). Respect for human rights is at the heart of our corporate activities, and we refuse to engage in behavior that infringes people’s human rights, such as the use of child labor or forced labor. Our operations are global in scale, including production activities in Southeast Asia, and we are taking thorough steps to build a sustainable supply chain, with a major emphasis on human rights, for example by implementing a Sustainable/CSR procurement self-assessment questionnaire to our suppliers in May 2022 to ensure that human rights are respected at our overseas production sites as well as by their suppliers.
As a measure that will help to ensure stable employment, comfortable lifestyles and enhanced motivation for our employees, at our production facility in Cebu in the Philippines, which has more employees than any other site, we are working to ensure that at least 70 – 80% have the status of regular employees, which is not a normal practice in this region.
Adopting a perspective that emphasizes the need for diversity in human talent, as a global enterprise we proactively appoint foreign nationals to management positions at our overseas sites, with half of our overseas subsidiaries headed by a local manager.
As a result of demonstrating respect for diversity in terms of the gender, nationality and age of our employees, as of the end of FY2021, the percentage of all managers (including overseas sites) who are female was 17.9% for consolidated. For non-consolidated, the corresponding percentage was 2.3%, and 2.3% of managerial positions were held by foreign nationals.
Nevertheless, following the market reforms that have been implemented by the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), as a company that has selected the TSE’s Prime market, YAMASHIN-FILTER must strive for further enhancement of the overall level of corporate governance. Particularly regarding the composition of the board of directors, although the company currently has one executive director of US nationality, there are no female directors on the board, and this is an issue that we will need to address going forward. We will also be taking thorough steps to realize a continued strengthening of our corporate systems for compliance and risk management.
Going forward, we will continue to wholeheartedly promote measures aimed at realizing sustainability. I hope that this report will help to give all our stakeholders a more in-depth understanding of our company’s activities, and I look forward to receiving your continued guidance and support in the future.