(Left) Nobuaki Okita
Core Engineering Section 5 Track System Operations Product Engineer Department Business Division
SCREEN Semiconductor Solutions Co., Ltd.
(Middle) Kimito Ando
Director, Member of the Board General Affairs & Human Resources Strategy, Tokyo Representative
SCREEN Holdings Co.,Ltd.
(Right) Norimichi Kikuchi
Assistant Manager, Safety & Quality Control Department
SEBACS Co., Ltd.
Aiming to Be a Sustainable, Development-centered Company
Green Value Award
(Left) Nobuaki Okita
In 2012, the SCREEN Group launched the Green Value Awards (GVA), an in-house program to honor sections of the SCREEN Group that make outstanding contributions to EHS (environment, health, and safety). In this special feature, we speak with the key players behind two initiatives that were awarded the fiscal 2018 EHS Management Award. They talk about how SCREEN can be a company that creates value together with customers and solves social issues.
GVA Assessment Standard
To win a GVA, business activities, products, and services are judged on six criteria from the standpoint of EHS innovativeness, originality, practicality, difficulty/effort/co ntinuity, economic effect, and user evaluations.
Contributing to Industry as a Whole
Ando: The GVA was launched in 2012 with the goal of advancing and disseminating EHS activities. Each year brings an increasingly higher level of entries to this award. The two winners of the fiscal 2018 EHS Management Award were recognized for their particularly outstanding contributions to industry as a whole.
Can you tell us what inspired you take on this challenge and how you brought it to fruition?
Okita: The idea for the exhaust-free spin scrubber came up when customers asked us if there were some way to reduce the amount of exhaust from the machine. But if we reduced the amount of exhaust, what would take its place and perform the same role? That’s where we came up with the idea of cleaning and circulating the exhaust inside the machine so that it could be reused. When we tried this, we found that it actually worked well. We then fleshed out the idea and eventually arrived at the product.
Kikuchi: The origins of our development of the safety apron go back about 10 years.
I borrowed a protective apron from a customer during on-site work, but a liquid chemical got on my skin, and that’s when I realized there was a safety problem. We at SEBACS realized that we needed to find safety wear that protected us, so we set out looking for such a product. However, the only products we could find on the market covered the entire body, were heavy and difficult to work in, and made you sweat a lot. It was then that we realized that we could only protect ourselves if we made a new product ourselves.
Ando: So, how did you go about developing protective clothing that would be easy for you to work in?
Kikuchi: The Safety Department and Development Department of SEBACS joined forces. We also got ideas from the activities of our Health and Safety Committee and our company’s hazard simulation training. After much trial and error, we came up with the SEBAPRON chemical-resistant apron, a product light and comfortable enough to wear for long periods of work without getting tired.
Ando: So, improvement suggestion activity for incident to the creation of a new product! SEBAPRON has earned the praise of many customers and has helped raise the level of safety in the industry as a whole.
The Fruits of EHS Activities
Ando: You managed to bring the concept of the exhaustfree spin scrubber to market, but that’s not all. The realization of this product will lead to even more business as demand for environmentally friendly products continues to grow. What have you gained from development of this product?
Okita: I got involved in this project in my third year after I joined SCREEN Semiconductor Solutions. It was the first time that I worked as one of the main members of a development project. At times, I wondered if the product would come to fruition. I learned many things along the way, but I think the main one was the importance of dispelling stereotypes that exhaust is simply something to be disposed of. I also learned how important it is to change the way of thinking in developing a product.
Ando: The exhaust-free spin scrubber was also awarded under Frontier Gate, a SCREEN in-house technology presentation held since 1986. This shows that it is a well-conceived, technically advanced development.
SEBACS won a fiscal 2017 GVA for its BCP (business continuity plan) activity during the Kumamoto earthquakes in 2016. The fiscal 2018 award—the company’s second time GVA in a row—protection tools was evaluated in a different effort from the previous one. What have you gained from the 2017 GVA?
Kikuchi: I work in the Safety & Quality Control Department, doing EHS-related work with site workers and customers. This award gives the entire company the stimulus and motivation to come up with new EHS initiatives and protective gear.
Creating Shared Value to Solve Social Issues
Ando: Looking at the SDGs that the SCREEN Group is tackling, the exhaust-free spin scrubber is directly related to SDG Goal 9, which says: “Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.” The SEBAPRON chemical-resistant apron is in line with SDG 8, which states, “Protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments of all workers.” I am pleased that SEBACS is able to use its business to provide a product that solves environmental and social issues.
Okita: Currently, we are delivering products individually to our customers. However, in future when customers build new factories, exhaust-free machines can replace all existing equipment. This will bring significant improvements in reducing exhausttreatment facilities, cutting air conditioning costs, and lessening CO2 emissions throughout an entire factory. In addition, we have earned high praise, including being awarded Best Suppliers award from customers.
Kikuchi: We have been working on the SEBAPRON to improve chemical-resistant apron ever since it was developed 10 years ago. Starting from the product’s first model, we have continued to improve it, giving it greater breathability, for example, as we incorporate customer opinions, incident reports, and employee opinions. Even today, we continue to listen to what kind of products customers wish for, so there is still plenty of room to evolve.
Ando: In business, it used to be good enough to simply concentrate on providing customers with better quality and cutting costs. But today, it’s crucial for a company to solve issues for society as a whole. In society, we share common values with our customers. We call working together with customers to realize value “creating shared value.” Pouring our energy into creating shared value is linked to SDGs and CSR activities. We will continue to conduct a wide range of activities, including taking part in awards programs, so that we can be a sustainable, development-centered company.
In the early days of the GVA, most of the entries were related to reducing environmental impact through, for example, energy efficiency. In recent years, however, there have been more environmentally and safety conscious products and services; an example is the Ledia5 direct imaging system, which does not use a mercury lamp. The two GVA products highlighted in this special feature are superb examples of using the development of new products to provide solutions to social issues faced by customers.
SCREEN is a development-centered company that strives to make products that solve the environmental and social issues faced by stakeholders, including customers, local communities, and employees. We will continue taking our development efforts to the next level.