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Platinum Metals Rev., 1994, 38, (1), 11

The New Kitsuregawa Technical Centre

Johnson Matthey Provides Technological Support and Embryonic Manufacturing Facilities in Japan

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In October 1993 Johnson Matthey opened its first Technology Centre in Asia. Located at Kitsuregawa, some seventy-five miles north-east of Tokyo, this new facility will enable Johnson Matthey to make their specialised expertise in the application of the platinum metals, and other high-technology materials, available more readily to industrial customers in Japan and hence to Japanese companies throughout the world.

In view of the global importance of the Japanese car manufacturers, the Centre includes a dedicated engine test and auto-catalyst evaluation laboratory. Johnson Matthey already supplies more than one-third of worldwide demand for automobile emission control catalysts, and will now be better placed to respond rapidly to the exacting demands of Japanese design engineers, whose requirements for catalyst information, testing and technical support are unsurpassed.

The Japanese electronics industry is a major user of advanced materials, the specifications of which are very precise, especially with regard to purity. Johnson Matthey has a great accumulation of knowledge and practical skills relating to the analysis and purification of noble and rare materials; these will be available through the new electronic materials applications laboratory and manufacturing facility.

As a result of the research and development philosophy of both government and industry, Japan is now leading the world in the move towards commercialisation of fuel cell electric generators. At the Kitsuregawa Technical Centre a pilot plant has been established which will provide fuel cell developers with samples of advanced catalyst materials formulated for this potentially important application.

With some limited facilities for fabricating platinum metals products, this new centre is well placed to serve the growing markets in Japan and Pacific rim countries.

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