Vol. 78, No. 6, November 2023

Special Reports 1

Water Environment Solutions Supporting Sustainable Development of Water Supply and Sewerage Infrastructure


UMEDA  Kenji

Global megatrends related to water and the environment include water resource shortages triggered by population increases, rapid urbanization and industrialization, and climate change due to global warming. In Japan, various issues are becoming evident such as a lack of engineers and financial difficulties due to the dwindling population, aging infrastructure, dealing with ever more serious and frequent natural disasters, and decarbonization efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. Also, the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a shift in social systems, accelerating labor saving and manpower saving efforts.

To resolve such issues, the Toshiba Group plans on contributing to sustainable development of water supply and sewerage infrastructure by combining water treatment technology developed over many years with digital technologies such as rapidly evolving Internet of things (IoT) devices and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide cyber-physical  systems (CPS) solutions which create new value.

KIMURA Akihide / TONARI Soichi / HOKARI Hiroyuki / HIRAOKA Yukio

There is a serious shortage of engineers at water supply and sewerage businesses in Japan, necessitating some means of support to run such facilities with a limited number of the qualified staff.

To meet these needs, the Toshiba Group utilizes Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable the TOSWACS-Nesta integrated water supply and sewerage platform to provide cyber-physical systems (CPS) solutions which are effective for supporting tasks that are conventionally handled by skilled engineers based on experience and knowledge, contributing to streamlined facility maintenance and labor-saving efforts. Using the accumulated data from TOSWACS-Nesta, we have developed a pump performance estimation function that supports preventive maintenance tasks at water supply and sewerage facilities and have verified its efficacy. With the goal of building technology for automated diagnostics of activated sludge at sewage treatment plants, we are also developing technology that automates and quantifies the measurement of activated sludge floc size from microscope images, which is one indicator of water quality, achieving over approximately 90% accuracy.

MENJU Takashi / ONISHI Yuuta / WANG Le

To deal with a variety of challenges at water supply and sewerage businesses, including environmental issues, decreasing revenue due to a dwindling population, increasing costs to update aging facilities, and social issues such as a lack of engineers and difficulty passing down expertise due to a dwindling birth rate and aging society, facility operating costs must be reduced, and knowledge must be utilized to lighten the workload of staff.

To meet these needs, the Toshiba Group is working on plant operation optimization solutions using Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced control technologies to support water supply and sewerage facility operations and reduce running costs while improving the quality of treated water and minimizing environmental impact. We have developed technology that predicts water inflow quality at water purification plants, optimizing chlorine and coagulant dosing, and utilizes existing frameworks to improve outflow water quality from sewerage facilities, confirming their efficacy in reducing running costs in a demonstration experiment.

NARUMI Keita / NAKAMURA Kensuke / SUGINO Toshiharu

With natural disasters increasing on a global scale and infrastructure deteriorating with age in Japan, more resilient, flexible infrastructure is needed to maintain the livelihood of individuals and society.

The  Toshiba Group is developing a rainwater solution that helps reduce the risk of facility flooding due to torrential rains, as well as preventing and mitigating disasters by providing real-time flood risk prediction in urban areas. To combat the serious issue of aging water pipelines, we are also developing diagnostic solutions to streamline surveys for identifying the level of deterioration. We will continue to engage in efforts to build more resilient water supply and sewerage infrastructure utilizing these technologies.


To contribute to achieving the government’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, development of new technologies is needed in water supply and sewerage system businesses.

The Toshiba Group is now developing solutions to achieve energy conservation and energy creation at water supply and sewerage system facilities. To reduce aeration power, which accounts for the vast majority of energy consumption at sewage treatment facilities, we have demonstrated that a sewage treatment device using the rotating biological contactor (RBC) method with a three-dimensional mesh-like fibrous body (hereafter referred to as "RBC device") is capable of low-power water treatment in a short period of time, and that the smart MBR (SCRUM) developed jointly with Kubota Corporation is capable of optimal aeration air volume control on a real scale. In terms of energy creation, we have developed and commercialized a digested sludge solubilizing system that increases the amount of digestion gas which can be used for power generation.

Special Reports 2

Continuously Evolving Measurement and Control Systems for the DX Era

OKANIWA Fumihiko

MOMOTAKE Hiroyuki / SAKATA Shinichiro / TAKAYANAGI Yoichi

Measurement and control systems constantly evolve to not only fulfill their purposes, but also to further streamline business. Control and operational technology (OT) components such as control equipment and sensors, continue to grow more sophisticated and offer greater functionality thanks to incorporation of digital technologies. On the other hand, cloud systems and information technology (IT) solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI) are evolving and provide information necessary for business in a society that changes from moment to moment.

In the manufacturing industry in particular, a combination of OT components and IT solutions that utilizes site data in real time and provides quick management decisions to sites is growing ever more important for smart manufacturing. Such trends are also driving measurement and control system digital transformation (DX) initiatives and transforming carbon neutrality and circular economy efforts. The Toshiba Group is contributing to promoting measurement and control system DX by providing products and services that combine OT and IT.

SATO Mitsue / MOTOJIMA Daichi / HU Tianxiang / INARI Masaru

Demand continues to grow in the manufacturing industry for better visualization and control functionality, and fusion of control and operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) is accelerating rapidly in the area of digital transformation (DX).

In the past, the Toshiba Group has engaged in software defined efforts to promote the fusion of OT and IT at manufacturing sites, however, we have developed a virtual instrumentation component platform for cloud driven fusion in these two areas. We are also contributing to further improvements in manufacturing functionality by offering distributed control system (DCS) industrial controllers and DX-compatible human machine interfaces (HMI) as products to accelerate software defined solutions for manufacturing control system devices, and have developed high-performance, high-capacity, slim industrial computers for supporting control systems at manufacturing sites.


X-ray thickness gauges are commonly used for online measurement of plates in rolling lines at steel plants, etc. Plate thickness measurement values are used in feedback control of rolling equipment which determines steel plate thickness, so precision and reliability are required. Also, in recent years, introduction of high-speed rolling equipment control has resulted in a growing need for high-speed X-ray thickness gauge sensing.

With this in mind, Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation has developed the new TOSGAGE-8000RS series X-ray thickness gauge capable of high-speed sensing at a sampling frequency of 1 ms. Accuracy and reliability have been improved by including a field sensor for collecting rolling line environment data.

OISHI Yoshiyuki / IKEDA Kazushi / ISHII Ken

The manufacturing industry is working to provide greater value to customers by using the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive digital transformation (DX). Manufacturing sites, however, face a variety of challenges, making it difficult for many companies to quickly move forward with DX. One typical example is the challenge of combining operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), and there is demand for products and services to help in this area.

Toshiba Digital Solutions Corporation offers products and services that support DX at manufacturing sites by combining our asset IoT cloud service with the measurement and control systems of Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions  Corporation. Some of these are being applied and used on the energy management system (EMS) in the new building at the Fuchu Complex of Toshiba Corporation.

KUBOTA Kei / UEMOTO Kohshiro

Because malfunctioning motors can have a major impact on manufacturing site operations, preventing such occurrences is vital. Conventionally, motor maintenance plans were drafted based on the past experience of seasoned engineers, however, a dwindling population of engineers due to aging is proving to be an issue.

To combat this, Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corporation  (TMEIC) has developed the TMBee-M motor diagnostic system which combines knowledge of motor maintenance from a variety of industries with systems technology developed over many years, enabling advanced detection of failure symptoms and appropriate, streamlined maintenance. It collects and analyzes vibration, current, temperature, and partial discharge data, providing comprehensive, automatic diagnostics of not only the mechanical, but also electrical status of motors.

Feature Articles

SUEZAWA Taku / MIZUTANI Fumihiko / WADA Takahisa

In recent years, attention has been increasingly focused on the application of multiparameter phased array weather radar (MP-PAWR) data to weather forecasting in order to predict sudden heavy rainfall caused by the growth of cumulonimbus clouds. MP-PAWR is capable of observing the three-dimensional (3D) raincloud distribution within a radius of 80 km at 60-second intervals, providing higher accuracy compared with conventional systems.

Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation has been participating in the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), a national program led by the Cabinet Office, and has conducted demonstration experiments under this program on the provision of information on heavy-rainfall detection. With the aim of realizing the practical use of a quantitative precipitation forecasting system using MP-PAWR data, we have been actively enhancing the accuracy of quantitative precipitation estimation at the ground level by optimizing the precipitation observation altitude as well as by improving VIL Nowcast, a precipitation prediction system that employs the vertically integrated liquid (VIL) water content method. 


In recent years, developments in information technologies such as behavior targeting and generative artificial intelligence (AI) have resulted in information of all types becoming valuable commodities. This in turn has triggered exponential growth in demand for storage devices capable of housing a vast amount of information, with increasing demand for higher capacity, higher performing hard disk drives (HDDs) .

To meet the need for high-capacity, high-performance, and highly reliable HDDs, Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation has applied new surface density improvement technologies, high-speed positioning technologies, and data protection technologies to achieve a 22 Tbyte nearline 3.5-inch HDD in the MG10F series of products using conventional magnetic recording (CMR).

Frontiers of Research & Development

Lithium-Ion Battery Performance Prediction Technology Capable of Wide Temperature and High Input-Output Range

*Company, product, and service names appearing in each paper include those that are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.