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History of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

The history of Mitsubishi Electric is the history of the development of modern Japan. The company was founded in 1921, when Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. (now Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.) spun off a factory in Kobe, Japan that made electric motors for ocean-going vessels into a new company called Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

In that year, the new company entered the consumer sector by manufacturing and marketing an electric fan, which became a hit product. Over the next decade the company succeeded in landing major contracts, including one for the development of an electric railway substation.

In the 1930s Mitsubishi Electric started manufacturing, installing and maintaining elevators and escalators as well as producing electric power generation equipment. The company continued to grow and branch out at a brisk pace, and by 1960 had emerged as one of the most innovative diversified electrical equipment manufacturers in Japan. In the early 1960s the company also turned its attention to environmentally conscious manufacturing techniques —many years before environmental concern became a serious issue.

Over the next two decades the company began extending its reach overseas while establishing itself as a pioneer in the development of computers, advanced air conditioning systems, automobile electronics, satellites powered by photovoltaic technology, and nuclear power generation.

From 1980 to the present day, the pace at which Mitsubishi Electric has introduced and refined breakthrough technologies and products for the benefit of society, industry and individuals has been nothing less than astonishing. These technologies include the world's first large-scale LED screen for sports arenas, the world's largest CRT television screen for the consumer market, the world's first spiral escalator, the world's fastest elevators, the antenna technology behind the world's first commercial in-flight Internet service, and much more.

Today, Mitsubishi Electric is a global giant with operations in 40 countries, more than 120,000 employees, and consolidated net sales of more than US$39 billion. (Figures are as per Annual Report 2014.)

Corporate Profile 1920s - 1970s

Mitsubishi Electric releases its first electric fan, first television, first elevator and escalator, first computer product and much more...

1970s

  • Released a petroleum gas fan heater and FF-type petroleum gas storage hot water supply equipment. (1978)
  • Installed elevators which traveled 600 meters per minute, the fastest in the world at that time. (1978)
  • Released a futon drier, the RO-1500 range oven, and an electronic heated table (kotatsu) model. (1977)
  • Launched the ETS-II engineering test satellite, the first in a series of ETSs for which Mitsubishi Electric was the prime contractor. (1977)
  • Produced Japan's largest-capacity nuclear power generator (1,300,000kVA) and a full gas-insulated substation (550kV). (1976)
  • Participated in national ultra-LSI R&D project aimed at "Studying Large-Scale Integrated Circuit Technology for the Next Generation of Digital Computers." (1976)
  • Introduced a large general-purpose computer, MELCOM COSMO 700. (1974)
  • Released the MELSEC310 sequencer. (1972)
  • Launched MOLDIS (Mitsubishi Online Distribution Information System) - Japan's first full-scale online realtime distribution information system. (1972)
  • Completed the 560,000 kVA turbine generator -- Japan's largest -- for the Kansai Electric Power Company's Mihama Power Plant. (1970)
  • Introduced the LOSSNAY heat-exchange ventilation system. (1970)

1960s

1967
Earth-station antenna

  • Released the best-selling MELCOM83 small business computer. (1969)
  • Developed the world's first permanent fuse. (1969)
  • Chosen as the prime contractor for Japan's first working satellite for ionosphere sounding. (1969)
  • Adopted "ADVANCED AND EVER ADVANCING" as our corporate slogan. (1969)
  • Released a wall-mounted split-system room air conditioner featuring a line flow fan. (1968)
  • Completed the first Mitsubishi nuclear power generator (400,000kVA). (1968)
  • Delivered an earth-station antenna to the Mexican Ministry of Communication for use with an international satellite. (1967)
  • Began technological cooperation on space technology with America's TRW. (1966)
  • Manufactured a commercial CVCF inverter and developed a VVVF inverter. (1965)
  • Supplied radar equipment to the weather station atop Mt. Fuji. (1964)
  • Delivered 1650 kVA main transformer and 185 kW electric motor for use in the Shinkansen (Bullet Train). (1963)
  • Delivered Japan's first subway train with an automatic train-operation (ATO) system. (1962)
  • Released Japan's first IC chip: the Molectron. (1961)
  • Produced the first Mitsubishi color TV, incorporating technology developed by RCA Corp. (1960)
  • Launched Mitsubishi Electric's initial computer entry, MELCOM 1101. (1960)

1960s

The first Mitsubishi Electric
television (Model 101K-17),
launched in 1953.

  • Completed the first Mitsubishi electrical-discharge machine. (1958)
  • Completed 105,000 kVA Francis-type hydraulic turbine generator for the J-Power Tagokura power plant, featuring umbrella-type construction with Japan's highest generation capacity. (1957)
  • Completed the ITV - Japan's first ever industrial use television. (1954)
  • Released the first Mitsubishi Electric television (Model 101K-17). (1953)
  • Completed Japan's first DD50 diesel-electric locomotive, for the Japan National Railways. (1953)
  • Began semiconductor research. (1952)
  • Succeeded in making Japan's first V-type oil circuit breakers for use on ultra high-voltage lines (287.5kV/5,000MVA). (1951)

1940s

  • Commenced production of radios and speakers. (1945)

1930s

Factory in the 1930s.
Commemorating the completion of
Japan's largest (at the time) motor
with an output of 9000 hp.

  • Installed the first Mitsubishi electric power generation equipment. (1938)
  • Listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (1937)
  • Delivered the first Mitsubishi elevator. (1935)
  • Delivered the first Mitsubishi escalator. (1935)
  • Marketed no-fuse breakers, the first domestically produced fuseless circuit breakers (15-35 amperes). (1933)

1920s

1924 Vertical-axle hydraulic
generator

1921-23 Electric fan

Mitsubishi Electric's first mass-
produced consumer product.
Mitsubishi Electric's technical
expertise in heavy electric systems
was applied to manufacture
products for the home.

  • Installed the first Mitsubishi electric power generation equipment. (1938)
  • Listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. (1937)
  • Delivered the first Mitsubishi elevator. (1935)
  • Delivered the first Mitsubishi escalator. (1935)
  • Marketed no-fuse breakers, the first domestically produced fuseless circuit breakers (15-35 amperes). (1933)
Corporate Profile 1980s

Installed the first ever Diamond Vision screen; the world's first spiral escalator; mass production of high-output semiconductor lasers; listing on the London and Paris stock exchanges, and much more...

1989s

  • Released the MELCOM80 small business computer with Greo.
  • Optical neurocomputer successfully recognized the 26 letters of the alphabet.
  • Listed on the London and Paris stock exchanges.
  • Implemented automated production and CIM for ventilation fan motors.
  • Developed and began mass-production of super current limiting breakers.
  • Developed an electronic-device cleaning process using ultra-fine ice particles.
  • Achieved sales in excess of 2 trillion yen (2,230.1 billion yen for fiscal 1989).

1988s

1988 Spiral escalator

  • Installed spiral escalators in a shopping center in San Francisco.
  • Developed and implemented an elevator control system that uses AI/fuzzy logic.
  • Developed a prototype optical neurochip, paving the way for the development of an optical neurocomputer.
  • Developed a low-power digitized hydraulic elevator featuring pressure-compensated controls.
  • Began running the Mitsubishi Electric "MIND" VAN.

1987s

  • Released the MELDAS 300 series, the world's first 32-bit CNC.
  • Released the MELCOM EX860, 870 and 880 mainframe computers.
  • Released the cluster ion beam unit, which is effective in forming superconducting membranes.
  • Developed a 4 MB DRAM chip small enough to fit on a 300 mil wide DIP.

1986s

  • Released the ML806T2 carbon-dioxide gas laser processing machine.
  • Released the MELMUX network-type high-speed digital multiplexer.
  • Produced the world's first sequential inference machine, MELCOM PSI.
  • Introduced a cordless car telephone.
  • Developed a compact cassette-type high-definition VCR.
  • Began mass production of 1Mbit DRAMs, and successfully developed and test-manufactured 4Mbit DRAMs.

1985s

1985
35-inch color television

  • Released the MIBASS intelligent building system.
  • Released a 37-inch color TV.
  • Received order as the prime contractor for FUYO-1 (JERS-1), the first large-scale Earth resources satellite manufactured in Japan.
  • Produced a working videoconferencing system using a vector quantization.
  • Began sales of the "Super Scrum" series circuit breakers.

1984s

  • Produced the spiral escalator.
  • Mass-produced high-output semiconductor lasers, on a par with the highest world standards, for use in optical communications.

1983s

  • Released a color TV with a built-in TV printer.
  • Produced a working version of a microwave-discharge light-emitting device.
  • Named the prime contractor for the nation's first domestically produced communications satellite, CS-3.
  • Began mass production of 256K DRAMs and developed a 1Mbit DRAM.

1982s

  • Produced an optical pickup for use in compact disc players.
  • Developed a 50 kW phosphoric acid fuel cell.

1981s

  • Produced the ML-1000P carbon-dioxide gas laser oscillator.

1980s

1980 Diamond Vision

  • Supplied Japan's first 45m-diameter radio telescope, to Tokyo Planetarium.
  • Delivered the first Diamond Vision mammoth outdoor color video-display system, to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
  • Achieved sales in excess of 1 trillion yen (1,075.4 billion yen for fiscal 1979).
Corporate Profile 1990s

Tie-ups with IBM and Hewlett-Packard; establishing philanthropic foundations in the USA and Thailand; awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the first recycling plant for the household appliance industry, and more...

1999s

1999 Jin Mao Building

1999 Subaru Telescope

  • Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory Japan, which utilizes the company's actuator technologies, is delivered and installed on Mauna Kea, Hawaii Island, Hawaii, USA.
  • Fastest elevators in China (540m/min) delivered to the Jin Mao Building in Shanghai China, the second tallest building in the world.
  • Established TMA Electric Corp. a joint venture with Toshiba Corporation for the development and manufacture of high-capacity electric motors.
  • Completed and commenced operations at the Higashihama Recycling Center, the first recycling plant for the household appliance industry.

1998s

  • Introduced practical use of CMOS image sensor technology.
  • Agreement made with Matsushita Electric and Matsushita Electronics for joint development of next-generation system LSI.

1997s

  • Started mass production of the world's first CMOS image sensor.
  • Developed the Bedside Wellness System.
  • Commenced sales of the ultra-thin mobile computer, Pedion.
  • Awarded "Best-of-the-Best" prize by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of outstanding contributions to environmental protection.

1996s

  • Introduced practical use of CMOS image sensor technology.
  • Agreement made with Matsushita Electric and Matsushita Electronics for joint development of next-generation system LSI.

1995s

  • Integrated overseas and domestic business divisions in response to globalization.
  • Estabilished research center in Europe.

1994s

1994 Kansai Airport

  • Released the world's first energy-saving household air conditioner.
  • Received the 1994 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Installed a Doppler radar system and other airport-related equipment at Japan's New Kansai International Airport.
  • Drafted "Vision 21," a project targeting new business development from Mitsubishi Electric's perspective of society in the year 2010.
  • Developed ultra-fine pattern forming technology using X-ray lithography.

1993s

  • Released the "Chilled" refrigerator in response to the CFC controls introduced in 1996.
  • Reductions in the use of special chlorofluorocarbons.
  • Installed the world's fastest passenger elevator at the time (750m/min), in the Landmark Tower Yokohama.
  • Delivered the Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator (HIMAC) to the National Institute of Radiological Sciences.

1992s

  • Successfully developed an artificial retina chip.
  • Estabilished the SOCIO-ROOTS Fund.
  • Developed a CMOS image sensor.

1991s

  • Strengthened foothold in the computer business through tie-ups with IBM and Hewlett-Packard.
  • Established the Mitsubishi Electric Thailand Foundation.
  • Developed and implemented a high-definition full-color sublimation printer for CAD applications.
  • Commenced trial production of 64Mbit DRAMs.
  • Activities to boost U.S. community contributions begun at Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.

1990s

  • Released the "Scene" range of light fixtures designed for lifestyle scenarios.
  • Released successive domestic appliances and other products incorporating fuzzy logic.
  • Released a die-sinking electrodischarge machine featuring fuzzy logic-based control.
  • Purchased the hardware division of the British firm Apricot Computers.
Corporate Profile 2000s

KASUMI selected as the standard encryption code for GSM mobile telephones; launch of MTSAT-2 and Superbird-7; released the world's first non-contact fingerprint recognition device; adopted "Diamond Vision Solutions," and more...

2009s

Photo courtesy of New York
Yankees

  • Received order to supply Proximity Link System (PLS) to guide Cygnus Spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on re-supply missions for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • "DIAMOND VISION SOLUTIONS" adopted as collective brand name for Mitsubishi Electric Group's visual solutions business.
  • Diamond Vision screen installed at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's largest high-definition display. The recognized screen measures 22m high by 48m wide.
  • Developed the world's first hybrid nano coating that can be applied to materials ranging from metals to plastics for protection against dust, oil and other substances.
  • Received order from Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) to build the meteorological satellites HIMAWARI 8 and 9.
  • Delivered Major League Baseball's first full 1080 x 1920 high-definition LED, 16mm pixel pitch Diamond Vision Screen to Yankee Stadium in New York.
  • Released the NJ-XS10J, the world's first* steamless IH (induction heater) rice cooker with no steam port.
    * Feb 1, 2009. Based on water-cooling steam recovery system. (Mitsubishi Electric research).

2008s

  • Became the first Japanese manufacturer to enter the commercial communications satellite market outside of Japan with the introduction of an original satellite bus, and has received an order from Singapore and Taiwan to build the ST-2 as their next communications satellite.
  • Announced growth strategies and reinforced/expanded global warming countermeasures for reducing CO2 through business activities, toward achieving harmony between fulfilling lifestyles and global environmental preservation, as laid out in "Environmental Vision 2021."
  • Succeeded in launching Superbird-C2 (7), the first domestic commercial communications satellite made in Japan for Space Communications Corporation, and completed the handover of the satellite to Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation on October 17, after completion of in-orbit performance testing.
  • Two persons from Mitsubishi Electric awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal for development of large-scale optical telescope mirror support system for use on the Subaru telescope.
  • Received an order to install four Diamond Vision displays and three LEDerAd ribbon board displays in the new stadium being built for the NFL Dallas Cowboys (scheduled to open in June 2009).
  • Achieved the world's highest energy conversion rate of 18.6% in a polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic cell.
  • Installed Asia's longest Aurora Ribbon, a very long LEDerAd ribbon board display, at the Chiba Marines baseball stadium in Japan.

2007s

  • Succeeded in verification experiments on the world's longest 80km key distribution with a cryptography system using a single photon source, jointly with Hokkaido University and other institutions.
  • Awarded the Prime Minister's Prize at the 36th Japan Industrial Technology Awards for the short-gap high-density ozone generator.
  • Awarded the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation Chairman's Prize at the FY2007 National Commendation for Invention Awards, for inventing the technology of using existing refrigerant piping for new air conditioning units for cooling.
  • Achieved the world's highest photoelectric conversion efficiency of 18.0% in practical-use multi-crystalline solar cells.
  • Completed construction of the world's tallest elevator testing tower, measuring 173m, at Inazawa Works.
  • Delivered Japan's largest security system, which monitors document access using IC tags, to the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
  • Announced Environmental Vision 2021--Making Positive Contributions to the Earth and its People through Technology and Action.

2006s

  • Successfully launched the MTSAT-2 multifunctional transport satellite.
  • Awarded the 21st Century Invention Prize at the FY2006 National Commendation for Invention Awards for inventions related to high-efficiency high-density ozon