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FUJIFILM starts with membrane production in the Netherlands

FUJIFILM Manufacturing Europe B.V. in Tilburg, The Netherlands, held the official start of the new production line for membranes. Shigehiro Nakajima, President and COO of FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation opened the new production line together with the Japanese Ambassador Tsuji, The King’s Commissioner Van de Donk and the President of FUJIFILM Manufacturing Europe B.V., Peter Struik. This opening of the new production line symbolizes a new step in the 32 year history of Fujifilm in Tilburg. A membrane is a fine filter which for example can purify gas or water. For Fujifilm, the membranes are a new product and also a completely new market.

The ceremony’s theme focused on innovation and the value from innovation. In the innovation dome, visitors were guided through the transition of Fujifilm, the change from just photographic products to the development of new technology platforms. Distinctive in the transition was the closure of the factory for the colour negative film in 2006. Mainly due to the increase in digitization, Fujifilm decided to focus more on the development of alternative products. The company used for this purpose their knowledge and experience which was accumulated by the production of photo paper, colour negative film and offset plates. With each of these product groups, a thin layer of coating is placed on a bearer, a core technique which Fujifilm is now continuing to use in the production of membranes.

Over the past years, Fujifilm has developed a new technology platform, whereby different types of membranes can be produced for water and gas separation. The new production line expands the production capacity for membranes among others suitable for gas separation. The coated membrane are rolled onto a pipe and finished as gas separation modules. The customer can use the gas separation modules in the gas fields to separate gasses from each other. An example of the application of Fujifilm modules is to purify natural gasses from CO2.

The developed membrane technology platform is also applicable for the production of so-called ion exchange membranes. These are membranes suitable for water purification. These ion exchange membranes can also be used for the generation of ‘blue energy’, an alternative energy source, resulting in energy generation from the difference in salt concentrations between salt and fresh water. At this moment, there are ongoing tests, with among others a trial installation at the dam in the Netherlands.

The purification of gasses or water fits well in the sustainable business operations at Fujifilm. The company works continuously on the preservation of products and processes. For example the five wind turbines on the site and the afterburner for waste gasses in the offset plate factory. In the autumn of this year, a start will be made with the water purification plant on the Fujifilm site, which is a joint venture with neighbouring companies to purify their waste water.

Fujifilm has recently started with the market introduction of the gas separation modules and will focus on the growth of their market share. The membrane market share is at this moment limited and it is the ambition of Fujifilm to become a market leader in the development and production of gas separation membranes within five years.

About FUJIFILM Manufacturing Europe B.V.
FUJIFILM Manufacturing Europe B.V. in Tilburg is one of the largest production establishments of Fujifilm outside of Japan. The company was established in 1982 and approximately 900 employees work on the site which is 63 Hectare large. Fujifilm Tilburg produces aside from membranes, also photo paper and offset plates and has its own Research Laboratory.