JAPAN: Daikin has invested JPY150m ($1.4m) in Nature Architects, a start-up company from the University of Tokyo developing direct functional modelling (DFM) in product design.

DFM is a design technology that automatically calculates the optimum structure according to the design and functional requirements required for the finished product, and is said to be ideal for the design of complex shaped objects.

“With this investment, we aim to transform the conventional design process for functional materials and parts that make up air conditioners,” Daikin said. “By applying DFM to the material that suppresses vibrations from the drive source of the outdoor unit, and developing an air conditioner that is quieter, we will work on the sophistication of materials that were difficult to design with only the know-how we have accumulated so far.”

At the end of last year, Daikin pledged $100m for start-up investments over the next five years.