Milestone-Proposal talk:Birth and Growth of Primary and Secondary Battery Industries in Japan

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Approval of the Proposal

Kawamoto (talkcontribs)

This Proposal is worth a Milestone. I approve.

Hiro Kawammoto, Advocate

Juancarlos (talkcontribs)

From the IEEE History website: "The IEEE Milestones program honors significant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE…. Milestones recognize the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity found in unique products, services, seminal papers and patents."

"Birth and Growth of Primary and Secondary Battery Industries in Japan"

After reading the text and arguments in the nomination, I don't see how the criteria are met, for "the growth of battery industries" Furthermore, here are two different developments in the fabrication of dry cells and lead-acid batteries, by different people in different places and times. I'm sorry to say that I really don't feel comfortable with this proposal, and in the present formulation of this nomination, my opinion is negative.

Administrator1 (talkcontribs)

Thank you very much for your comments. This proposer replies to your comments in what follows.

(1)First of all, you wrote that you could not see how the criteria are met for “the growth of battery industries”. Against this comment, it should be insisted that this proposal is for “the birth and growth of battery industries” in Japan, not in the world. In addition, this proposal claims the following items.

(1-i) Yai took a patent of the Japan’ first dry battery invention in 1893, and then built a factory in Tokyo, which grew to the largest in Japan, with the annual production volume of more than 200,000 units as of 1921. Unfortunately, however, in September 1923 the Great Kanto Earthquake of magnitude 7.9 struck the Kanto Plane, by which all facilities of his company were burnt to ashes. Nevertheless, Yai soon managed to rebuild a new factory in Kawasaki near Tokyo, which produced a sequence of commercially successful batteries, and grew to reign supreme over the Japanese dry battery market. Thus Yai paved the way for the Japanese dry battery industry.

(1-ii) Genzo Shimadzu established ‘Japan Storage Battery Co., Ltd.’ in Kyoto in 1917, where after a continual process of trial and error, he managed to invent an epoch-making methodology in 1919 for manufacturing lead-acid batteries, called ‘reactive lead oxide production method’ , for which he acquired not only a Japanese patent (No. 41,728) in February 1922, but also French, English, USA, and German patents in November 1922, May 1923, May 1926, and October 1929, respectively, together with other 11 countries’ patents, including Italian, Austrian, Belgian, Czech, Swedish, Canadian, and Australian ones. Thus he contributed primarily to the birth and growth of the Japanese lead-acid battery industry.

(1-iii) With the rapid advance of Japanese motorization starting from the early 1950’s, the demand for automotive batteries grew at an accelerated pace, a variety of high-capacity automotive batteries with low-temperature characteristics were newly developed in the early 1950’s. In parallel to this motorization, the urgent request for postwar reconstruction all over Japan also expanded extensively the demand for high-capacity lead-acid batteries for use in backup power supplies installed in factories, office buildings, power substations, telephone stations, etc. Thus the share of lead-acid batteries rapidly climbed to the top in the Japanese secondary battery market in the early 1970’s, which was achieved mainly by GS Yuasa Corporation and Panasonic Corporation. Thus the Japanese lead-acid battery industry contributed greatly to the postwar reconstruction as well as to the motorization all over Japan.

(2) Secondarily, you wrote that you do not feel comfortable with this proposal of two different developments in the fabrication of dry cells and lead-acid batteries. Against this opinion, it should be insisted that this proposal emphasizes the wide-spread development of primary and secondary batteries in Japan, as follows.

(2-i) Panasonic Corporation released in quick succession a great number of carbon-zinc, silver-oxide, alkaline-manganese, and lithium batteries in the mid 1950’s through the early 1970’s, with which a huge market of consumer electronics was created in Japan. For example, it should be noticed that (a) the carbon-zinc battery ‘Neo Hi-Top’, released in 1969, attained 17 countries’ patents and 943 domestic patents and utility model rights, and contributed primarily to opening up a whole new market of home appliances, with the greatest market share of primary batteries in Japan, (b) alkaline-manganese batteries cultivated new fields of household appliances, such as tape-recorders, 8-mm movie cameras, strobes, shavers, etc., due to strong-load and low-temperature characteristics, and (c) lithium batteries released first in 1971 contributed distinctively to creating a new market of digital appliances, such as electronic watches, personal computers, digital cameras, mobile terminal devices, etc.

(2-ii) GS Yuasa Corporation started the production of Ni-Cd batteries in 1953, to be substituted for nickel-iron batteries so far utilized for safety lamp in coal mines. Subsequently, Ni-Cd batteries were targeted at standby power supplies installed in electric trains of private/public railway companies, such as JNR’s Tokaido-Shinkansen (Bullet Trains), in the late 1950’s through the mid 1960’s, where batteries were of “pocket type”, constructed of nickel-plated steel pockets containing nickel and cadmium active materials.

(2-iii) Triggered by the Japanese Building Standards Act revised in 1971, which obliged buildings to be provided with emergency lighting, the demand for high-capacity Ni-Cd batteries suddenly increased for use in industrial equipment, such as backup power systems, uninterruptible power supplies, disaster-prevention wireless systems, aircraft starting, load adjustment, engine starting for backup turbines, etc. On the other hand, Panasonic Corporation also started the commercialization of sintered- plate Ni-Cd batteries in 1970, which accelerated broadening the application fields of Ni-Cd batteries not only to household products, such as portable/cordless/wireless appliances and electric power tools, but also to miniature button cells installed in photographic equipment, hand-held lamps (flashlight or torch), computer memories, toys, novelties, etc.

Finally, it should be added that at present Panasonic Corporation and GS Yuasa Corporation have achieved the largest world market share in the nickel-hydrogen battery for HV (Hybrid Vehicle) as well as in the lithium-ion battery for EV (Electric Vehicle), which has been based on the long history of developing and manufacturing technologies highly polished for primary and secondary batteries.

This post was posted by Administrator1, but signed as Shirakawa.

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