Initiatives

Development of (SiC) Silicon Carbide Substrate, a product with low environmental impact

In October 2017, SMM and Kaga Electronics Co., Ltd. concluded a joint venture contract and stock transfer agreement for SMM to acquire 51% of the shares of SICOXS CORPORATION, a Kaga Electronics subsidiary.

SICOXS is a development company that possesses the technology to manufacture SiC substrates using a bonding technology. Demand is expected to grow for SiC as a material for semiconductors, including power semiconductors, which control electric power. Power semiconductors containing SiC reduce energy loss and make it possible for devices to be made smaller, so new markets for this material are expected to emerge, particularly for use in hybrid vehicles and EV.

The bonding technology possessed by SICOXS can greatly reduce manufacturing costs, which is an issue in the manufacture of SiC substrates. SMM is proceeding with development to mass produce SiC substrates by combining SICOXS’ unique technology with the substrate production technologies we have already cultivated. We SMM’s biggest strength lies in our business model of collaboration between our three core businesses: mineral resources, smelting and refining, and materials. We are working to deepen this collaboration and generate new added value and are also engaging in creating new businesses developed independently of existing ideas. One initiative aiming to do this is the “Foresight Project,” which is being advanced primarily by the Materials Division. This project introduces ways to foresee future trends, and it involves creating ideas for original new businesses and products that are not just extensions of existing business lines. Project members were selected from across the company using an aptitude test and they held discussions about theories of social change that anticipate the future. These theories were then discussed in regard to the technologies possessed by SMM and in the end created 10 themes. These themes are now being will also leverage Kaga Electronics’ information gathering abilities and sales network in the field of electronics with the aim of realizing swift commercialization.

Silicon carbide wafers

Silicon carbide wafers