Odawara City is conveniently situated less than 100 miles south of Tokyo and in the midst of the country’s industrial and development heartland, and the research facility will form an important part of the manufacturing plant that was completed in 2015.
Kao says that the total amount invested in the Odawara Complex, including the recent addition of the research and innovation center, now stands at ¥13 billion ($13 billion).
The investment in the research and innovation center means that Kao can now claim to have the largest and most advanced cosmetics research facility to be found anywhere in Asia.
Consolidating beauty research
Kao executives say that the investment also means that the company’s research in the beauty area is now concentrated in one location, enabling research to be more compatible and collaborative.
In line with this ambition, the research and innovation facility has been designed with open plan working areas on each floor and open internal staircases to allow easy access between different departments.
The company says that this will enable researchers to deepen cross-departmental understanding while also undertaking innovative research using both scientific and kansei approaches.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging
The facility is also the first in the Kao business to be equipped with Functional Magnetic Resonance Technology (FMRT), a technology that enables kansei values that are otherwise difficult to qualify, to be measured.
This means that the technology can measure neural processes, such as emotion, which are an now important part of the development process for cosmetics and personal care products, given the increasing emphasis on sensorial properties.
The facility also includes a Cocolab, which has given way to an interactive lab that allows people to see and experience kansei values that are otherwise difficult to measure.