is a leading Japanese chemical engineering firm.
Formed in 1939 by the merger of Nihon Electrical Industries and
Showa Fertilizers, Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) manufactures chemical
products and industrial materials. SDK's products serve a wide
array of fields ranging from heavy industry to the electronic and
computer industries. The company is divided in five business
sectors: petrochemicals (olefins, organic chemicals, plastic
products), aluminum (aluminum cans, sheets, ingots, foils),
electronics (semiconductors, ceramic materials, hard disks),
chemicals (industrial gases, ammonia, agrochemicals), and inorganic
materials (ceramics, graphite electrodes). Showa Denko has more
than 180 subsidiaries and affiliates. The company has overseas
operations and a joint venture with Netherlands-based Montell and
Nippon Petrochemicals to make and market polypropylenes. In March
2001, SDK merged with Showa Denko Aluminum Corporation to
strengthen the high-value-added fabricated aluminum products
operations, and is today developing next-generation optical
Prior to World War II
it was a part of
group of companies as . It was founded
by in the early 1930s, and opened the first ammonium sulfate
factory in Japan in April
- Dec. 1908 Sobo Marine Products K.K. was established by Showa
Denko (SDK) founder, Nobuteru Mori, to manufacture and sell iodine
in Chiba Prefecture. Sobo Marine Products subsequently developed
into Nihon Iodine K.K.
- Oct. 1926 Nihon Iodine K.K. was establilshed.
- Apr. 1928 Showa Fertilizers K.K. was established.
- Mar. 1934 Nihon Iodine K.K. was renamed as Nihon Electrical
- Jun. 1939 Nihon Electrical Industries and Showa Fertilizers
merged to form Showa Denko K.K.
- May. 1949 SDK was listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange.
- Sept. 1951 SDK was awarded the first Deming Prize.
- Apr. 1969 Oita Petrochemical Complex started commercial
- Mar. 1977 Second expansion project of ethylene production
capacity was completed at SDK Oita Petrochemical Complex.
- Feb. 1986 SDK withdrew from its domestic aluminum smelting
- Nov. 1989 Hard Disk Plant No. 1 completed in Chiba.
- Jan. 1995 Omachi Works obtained ISO 9001 certification.
- May. 1997 Production Technology Center obtained ISO 14001
- Mar. 2001 SDK merged with Showa Aluminum Corporation.
- Sept. 2003 Japan Polyolefins Co., Ltd. and Japan Polychem
Corporation integrated the polyethylene businesses and established
a new joint venture company.
- Jul. 2004 Trace Strage Technology Corp., become a consolidated
- Nov. 2004 SDK announced to produce high-power blue LED
- Mar. 2005 SDK sold shares in SDS Biotech K.K. via MBO
- Jul. 2005 SDK started production of world's first perpendicular
magnetic recording technology HD media.
- Jan. 2006 SDK opened new medium-term consolidated business plan
"PASSION Project" for the 2006-2008 period.
- Sept. 2006 SDK opened new aluminum cylinders plant in
- Dec. 2006 SDK opened new hard disk media plant in
- Feb. 2007 SDK develops new crystal growth technology for
GaN-based blue/white LEDs.
- Sept. 2007 SDK opened its second neodymium-based alloys plant
- Jun. 2008 Showa Tansan Co., Ltd. become a consolidated
Hard Disc Media
- Showa Denko HD Pte., Ltd.
- Showa Highpolymer Co., Ltd.
- Showa Titanium Co., Ltd.
- Showa Denko Kenso Co., Ltd.
- Tohoku Metal Chemical Co., Ltd.
- Showa Aluminum Can Corp.
- Showa Denko Aluminum Trading K.K.
- Showa Denko Packaging Co.,Ltd.
- Showa Engineering Co., Ltd.
- Showa Denko Kenzai K.K.
- Shoko Co., Ltd.
- Fuyo Perlite Co., Ltd.
- Union Showa K.K.
The Petrochemicals Sector supports the growth of Showa Denko's
basic business through the manufacture and sales of organic
chemicals, olefins and specialty polymers.
SDK is the leader of the Asian ethyl acetate market.The Oita Plant,
the main manufacturing base, supplies SDK and other chemical
companies with the basic materials for making acetyl derivatives,
synthetic resin, synthetic rubber, and styrene monomers.
Innovative products include a new heat-resistant, transparent sheet
and film that can be used in flexible displays such as electronic
paper and organic EL displays.
Originally focused on general-purpose industrial gases, medical
gases, and industrial chemicals, SDK now provides a variety of
products including high-purity gases and chemicals for the
semiconductor industry. As the semiconductor industry shifted to
other asian locations, SDK established overseas specialty gases
production sites in Shanghai and Singapore.
The company also offers an array of technologies and products
covering various fields, including food additives, feed additives,
cosmetic ingredients, medical and agricultural intermediates,
optical-function materials, information-recording materials,
functional polymeric materials, differentiated composite material,
and liquid chromatography equipment (Shodex
SDK recently launched an environmental initiative to reduce waste
and encourage chemical recycling.
The Electronics Sector includes compound semiconductors, rare earth
magnetic alloys, solid aluminum capacitors, and hard disks.
The compound semiconductors business deals with the crystal growth
process, providing a wide range of products including Ultrabright
LED Chips as well as blue LED Chips.
The solid aluminum capacitor business relies on conductive
polymers, a combination of inorganic aluminum materials with
organic polymers. The products offer with high heat resistance and
The electronics sector also produces aluminum-based and glass-based
hard disks as well as aluminum substrates for hard disks. In
september 2008 SDK annouced a consolidation their hard disk (HD)
media operations by establishing a joint venture with Hoya
corporation in January 2009. The joint venture, will owned about
75% by SDK and about 25% by HOYA.
The Inorganics Sector consists of the Ceramics Division, Carbons
Division and Fine Carbon Department.
SDK's Ceramics products are used in a wide range of fields,
including chemical products, refractory products, ceramics, paper
manufacture, plastics and electronics.Key products include alumina
hydroxide, alumina, and high-purity alumina. SDK also produces
fused alumina abrasive grains, silicon carbide and boron
SDK produces artificial graphite electrodes, an indispensable
material for the recycling of steel. Other products include fine
carbulizing agents for iron casting.
In addition to VGCFTM
carbon nanofibers and fuel battery
materials already on the market, SDK is focusing R&D efforts on
high-functionality carbon products, including battery materials,
electronics materials, and materials for alternative energy
SDK produces heat exchangers, beverage cans, and other high
value-added fabricated products from aluminum materials (including
rolled, extruded and forged products).
Niigata Minamata disease
company is known for causing the second outbreak of Minamata disease (a type of severe mercury poisoning) in Kanose, currently
part of Aga-machi, Niigata Prefecture, through the release of organomercury compounds into the Agano River.
In the late 1980s Showa Denko K.K. decided to change the method it
used to produce tryptophan
, from fermentation
to the genetic engineering
Bacteria were engineered to express certain enzymes at much higher
levels than normal, and to express other enzymes not normally
present in the original bacteria. Because the company had been
producing an already existing product before its production was
switched to genetic engineering, only standard substantial equivalence
required. The new tryptophan was placed on the market, and within a
few months it caused the deaths of 37 people and caused 1500 more
to be permanently disabled. Unfortunately the new tryptophan
product was discovered to contain trace amounts of a toxic dimerisation
tryptophan product which caused
. After the product was taken off the market, Showa
Denko destroyed the bacterial stocks, along with any potentially
surviving specks that investigators might have recovered from the
walls or the equipment in their facilities. As a result of this
scientists were unable to learn exactly what caused the