Global instruments leader Shimadzu was founded in 1875 in Kyoto, Japan, when Buddhist altar craftsman Genzo Shimadzu had a dream to build educational chemistry and physics instruments to promote a widespread understanding of science in society. Since the equipment didn’t exist yet in Japan, he built prototypes using documents and illustrations from outside the country, persisting through the early years by establishing the founding principles of creativity, innovation and not fearing failure. By 1909, with Shimadzu’s son at the helm, the firm introduced first medical X-ray system manufactured in Japan.
During the century, Shimadzu would continue to develop the analytical and measurement instruments that today comprise 63% of the firm’s sales, leading advances in medical X-ray, imaging and diagnostic systems, gas chromatographs for the petrochemical industry, quantometers for manufacturing steel, structural testing systems instrumental in building earthquake-resistant buildings, and semiconductor and aircraft equipment. About half of Shimadzu’s sales are into Japan, with the rest into China, the Americas, other Asian countries, and Europe, respectively.
Shimadzu relies on an integrated R&D philosophy to foster innovation, in the last 50 years, building Innovation Centers around the world to identify and respond quickly to customer needs. Here, joint research projects are conducted with key customers, academic institutions and private companies that hold specific advanced technologies. Its newest research center, for example, is called the Future Collaboratory, and facilitates research on the brain, the five senses, biotechnology and artificial intelligence toward solving future challenges of society. The firm employs about 13,000 people worldwide, with the majority of those in Japan.
As of 12/31/21, Shimadzu was held in the Knowledge Leaders Strategy.