ITRI and Japanese Financial Group Form Joint Fund to Promote Laser Technology

The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group have established a joint fund to support the development of laser technology in Taiwan, and assist local companies brushless DC motor controlled IC modules enter the large Japanese vendors supply chain.

The two organizations announced earlier Wednesday that the second joint fund will value NT $2.5 billion (US $75.18 million), and they raised NT $1.5 billion through the first round of funding.

The fund is about three times that of the first joint fund, and is expected to deepen Taiwan-Japan business and industry relations.

From left: ITRI President Dr. Jonq-Min Liu , Dr. Fanghei Tsau , Dr. Chun-Hsun Chu, and ITRI Chairman Dr. Ching-Yen Tsay. (ITRI/LEDinside)

The two organizations have joined hands to enter the international laser market, and establish the first laser company financed by Taiwanese and Japanese organizations.

The expected Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for the fund is 15%, higher than average funds IRR of 8% to 10%, according to a UDN report.

The previous joint fund established by the two organizations ITRI and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has successfully financed seven Taiwanese companies, and seven Japanese companies. Four of the financed Taiwanese companies have been listed on Taiwan’s bourse, with one waiting to be listed in 2016. The companies that have been successfully financed include Singtex, F-JPP, Savior Lifetec, and Alfot Technologies. One Japanese company has been merged, and another will be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2016.

Investors in the second Taiwan-Japan fund also include The Akita Bank, Chang Chun Group, Superrite Electronics, Superior Plating Technology, and Maxfund Investment Group and other renowned companies. The second Taiwan-Japan fund will focus on high-end materials, precision machines, health, and cloud-based analyses.

ITRI also announced on the same day it would be establishing two new centers: Smart Microsystems Technology Center and the Laser and Additive Manufacturing Technology Center. The two centers will be led by Dr. Chun-Hsun Chu and Dr. Fanghei Tsau, respectively, both Deputy Executive Directors of ITRI's Southern Region Campus. In light of the broad trends associated with the Internet of Things and smart microsystems technology, the objective of the Smart Microsystems Technology Center will be to become a global R&D and production base for smart sensors. At the same time, the Laser and Additive Manufacturing Technology Center will concentrate on the development of independent technology related to laser sources, laser processing, laser laminate manufacturing, and pilot production. 

Leading the team in laser and additive manufacturing is Dr. Tsau, who received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and once served as the Executive Vice President and CTO for Young Green Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coretronics. In recent years has played a key role in bolstering the technological standards of Taiwan's laser applied technology and the integration of manufacturing process hardware and software. He states that lasers can be used not only in 3D printing, which is also known as additive manufacturing, but in subtractive manufacturing as well for better precision and quality. In the future, the new center will focus its R&D on a "high value laser process development platform," "additive manufacturing process & equipment," and "laser application systems and modules." The center will also have a comprehensive manufacturing test laboratory for laser applications. The overriding objective is to boost Taiwan's ability to produce key modules for precision laser applications and additive manufacturing and establish an industrial eco-chain with multiple competent clusters that expands the laser applications in Taiwan. 

The organization has also founded Taiwan's first laser applications pilot production plant and laser metal additive manufacturing laboratory, leading to the development of the "Laser Optics Valley." 

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