Sumitomo Forestry's Tsukuba Research Institute was established in Tsukuba Science City, Ibaraki Prefecture, in 1991. The facility develops technologies to make more effective use of wood in a wide range of fields.
Besides standard research buildings, the institute has a greenhouse for researching tropical forests and various experimental facilities for researching improved performance of wooden housing structure, acoustics and habitability, on its 25,000 m2 grounds. It is also equipped with testing equipment for various wood materials and other facilities supporting a wide range of research. With numerous government, municipal and university research institutions nearby, the Tsukuba Research Institute is in an excellent location to facilitate cutting edge information exchange and collaboration.
The institute's core wood-related research and development is conducted by three internal groups: resources, materials and housing.
It also has two facilities geared towards commercialization of the latest technologies. The first is the Techno Center, which tests various housing components and verifies their quality. The second is the Wood and Housing Technical Data Center, which transmits research results and data promptly back to Sumitomo Forestry.
The Resources Group is charged with developing new possibilities for wood. The group searches for new tree species with applications as house building materials and studies breeding and cultivation of tree species useful in Japan and overseas. The group's research also includes investigating regeneration of tropical forests and forestation of fast-growing tropical trees.
The group has succeeded in developing a clone propogation method for Dipterocarpaceae trees through plant tissue culture. This technique is being applied to Rosaceae weeping cherry trees and other plants with high cultural and historical value.
The Materials Group researches and develops attractive wood housing materials, utilizing the special properties of the original wood.
The group is developing products to promote use of Japanese timber and working to use fast-growing trees and wood waste effectively.
The group also has a focus on developing new materials for use in long-lasting housing, such as our Kizure Panels loadbearing wall panels, and new MIZDAS materials made with our improved high-temperature drying system.
The Housing Group develops new technologies to improve basic housing performance, new wood housing and improved livability.
One example of this is testing1 and verifying the strength, durability and other factors of a building structure and individual structural members to withstand natural disasters.
The group is also developing homes using natural energy and houses that adapt to lifestyle changes of the occupant, and researching how wooden housing makes the occupant feel.