U-MAP, Inc. (Headquarters: Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, President and CEO: Kenji Nishitani), a Nagoya University venture company engaged in the research and development of highly functional and conductive materials using fibrous aluminum nitride single crystal (hereinafter referred to as “Thermalnite”), has raised approximately 300 million yen in funding.
Solving the world’s thermal problems with the innovative new material “Thermalnite”
U-MAP is an innovative materials venture that aims to solve thermal problems through the social implementation of fibrous aluminum nitride single crystal (“Thermalnite”), a research result of Ujihara Laboratory (Institute for Future Materials and Systems) at Nagoya University. In order to solve the thermal problems that reduce the performance and life of electronic devices, we will realize a new functional material that can improve the heat dissipation of electronic devices.
In order to accelerate its business, the company has raised funds from five companies: Real Tech Fund, Kyoto University Innovation Capital, OKB Capital, Shinsei Bank, and Tokai Tokyo Investment. With this round of funding of approximately 300 million yen, we will accelerate the construction of the Thermalnite pilot line and the development of materials.
Accelerating “Thermal Problems” in Electronic Devices
Recently, there has been a great deal of attention paid to thermal issues in electronic devices and the energy problems associated with them. Heat generation reduces performance such as processing speed, and also reduces the lifespan of the device itself. This is especially so for industrial equipment such as EVs, communication systems (5G), and servers in data centers.
For example, in EVs, the thermal management of the battery plays an important role in differentiating the performance.In the past, such electronic devices have been equipped with cooling equipment such as fans and water-cooling systems to handle the heat generated, but this method increases the size and cost of the equipment and raises concerns about cooling losses. U-MAP eliminates or reduces the cooling mechanism by making the material used inside the equipment itself highly thermally conductive, thus contributing to higher performance, smaller size, and energy saving of the equipment.
U-MAP’s development of ceramic composite materials and resin composite materials
The main materials for these electronic devices are ceramics and resins. In addition, additives called fillers are important elements in the properties of these materials.Thermalnite (fibrous aluminum nitride single crystal), a new material developed by Nagoya University and U-MAP, is an innovative filler material, and the strength of Thermalnite is that it can be added to ceramics and resins to create new functions that were not previously possible.
U-MAP has confirmed new functional properties in ceramic and resin composites using Thermalnite, and is targeting the ceramic and resin component markets with this competitively advantageous product.
Ceramic composites are mainly used as substrates for industrial power modules and optical communication modules. And in order to improve the heat dissipation of the module, two characteristics of the ceramic substrate are important: its thermal conductivity and mechanical properties.Thermalnite-added Ceramic substrates can achieve both of these properties simultaneously at a high level.This allows the heat from the semiconductors to escape outside efficiently and in the case of EVs, allows for higher mounting density. In addition, the module size can be reduced to improve fuel efficiency by reducing cooling energy, and the body design can be enhanced.
Resin/rubber composites are used in devices in many fields such as smartphones, PCs, EVs, and 5G base stations.Conventional high-thermal-conductivity resin/rubber materials contain more than 70-80% filler in the resin/rubber, which results in the loss of properties such as lightness and flexibility.U-MAP’s Thermalnite can improve thermal conductivity even with as little as 10-20%, thus enabling the creation of resin/rubber composites with the same or better thermal conductivity than conventional materials while maintaining resin/rubber characteristics (flexibility, light weight, high processability and adhesiveness, etc.).Therefore, U-MAP’s resin/rubber composite materials can be used in the manufacture of parts using molding methods that require different characteristics from those of conventional materials, as well as in next-generation communications such as 5G and EVs, where there is a strong need for functional materials.
U-MAP has already started selling samples of Thermalnite and masterbatches of Thermalnite added to ceramics, resins, and rubbers, and has sold them to a total of more than 70 companies.
With this funding, we aim to design and operate a pilot line for the mass production of Thermalnite, establish a thorough quality assurance system, conduct research and development to accelerate the development of ceramic composites and resin/rubber composites (optimization of manufacturing conditions, structural control, etc.), and build alliances.
In addition, U-MAP and Nagoya University are collaborating on the development of a machine learning technology called Process Informatics, which optimizes with a small number of experiments. This approach overturns the common wisdom that materials ventures take a long time to develop, and U-MAP will develop this technology at an speed faster than ever before.
Outline of U-MAP Inc.
|Established||December 12, 2016|
|Location||207, Nagoya University Incubation Facility, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8603, Japan|
|Representative||Kenji Nishitani (CEO), Takahiro Maeda (COO), Toru Ujihara (CTO)|
|Business Description||Development and sales of innovative material “Fibrous Aluminum Nitride Single Crystal”|
|Contact for inquiries||E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org|
■We have been featured in various press and media!
[Chubu Keizai Shimbun] U-MAP, a venture from Nagoya University, to mass-produce unique material to improve heat dissipation, 300 million yen raised through funds, etc., new plant in Seto to meet demand for EVs
[Realtek Holdings HP] Altec Fund Invests in U-MAP, an Innovative Materials Venture to Solve the World’s Thermal Problems
[Tech Crunch] U-MAP, a materials venture from Nagoya University, raises about 300 million yen to solve the “heat problem” of electronic devices such as smartphones and EVs
[Nikkei] Nagoya University startup to boost production of heat-dissipating functional materials, raises 300 million yen