— Showcase of Challenging Technology of Mitsubishi HI today
I just visited the “Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum”(MMI Museum) located in Yokohama recently. The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is the Japan’s oldest engineering technology company which has been leading and promoting Japanese heavy industries for long time. Now the MHI established the MM Museum in 1994 in Yokohama for the purpose to advertise the technology achievements and goals of company along with the Technology Development Center in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama.
At the Museum they introduce the company’s major leading projects rigorously conducting today, such as environmental energy, deep sea exploration, aircraft, space and rockets equipment, transportation systems, and so on by presenting real products, models, simulation devices in systematic way. Among these exhibition lists, particularly spectacular ones wee the aircraft model of jet airliner MRJ which Mitsubishi is currently developing , the real appearance of the H-2 rocket engine, the real vessel exhibition of the manned submarine “Shinkai 6500”. I felt that the museum is showing the excellence of technology owned much to the first class MHI engineering group.
♥ see MHI Museum site: http://www.mhi.co.jp/museum/
♣ Mitsubishi and Minatomirai Yokohama
The origin of the “MHI ” was the “Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard” which had been bought up by the Mitsubishi Zaibatsu from the early Meiji government in 1884. After that in 1917, it became “Mitsubishi Shipbuilding”, and merged with Mitsubishi Electric (later split off company), Mitsubishi Aircraft later, and then integrated to the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (1934). The Mitsubishi’s relationship with “Yokohama “Minatomirai” district could be traced back to the process of absorbing “Yokohama Docking Co. under the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1935,and it renamed “Mitsubishi Yokohama Plant” under the MHI starting operation at the Yokohama port area. (The Yokohama Docking itself was established in 1889 in the purpose of enriching the dock and warehouse facilities at theYokohama Port)
Then in the 1990s, the Yokohama Plant decided to move its factory to Kanazawa in the Hokuriku Japan. Concurrently the redevelopment project of “Minatomira 21” in Yokohama’s port area started with using this vast shipyard area and its adjacent railway site. This project was intended to develop the multi functional metropolitan district representing Yokohama, such as building of the present landmark tower, modern hotels, museums, business offices and other township facilities.
MHI itself built the “headquarters office” and “MHI Technology Center” there, and established the “Mitsubishi Minatomirai Museum” in this district. In addition, it created the relics of the dock site of its Yokohama Plant there in its original figure as a historic monument, and transformed to a historic site where citizens could enjoy along with the other tourist site like “Red Brick Warehouse” in the Yokohama Port.
♣ Exhibition of Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum
The MHI has been managing the broad technology areas of and business so far. So the exhibits of the Museum are extensive. The exhibition hall is currently dividing into several zones, such as the exhibition of aerospace, deep ocean ship, land transportation, human life, environment and energy, scientific exploration, and others. The MHI’s top technology achievements are displayed there using large models and live simulators.. Let’s see the exhibition corner by each field.
The visitors are able to examine the exhibition by plug in the following YouTube site.( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDRJjIjTRXI )
♣ Exhibition of Space Zone
In this space corner, we can find the MHI’s newly developed aircraftMRJ and space rockets in the scale model. There it exhibited the actual products of engines LE-7 and LE-7A for Japanese original rocket of H-IIA and H-IIB produced by MHI which ordered by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
The H-II rocket is an improved version of the H-1 rocket which was developed and launched in the 1980s as a space exploration satellite. And this latest type of LE- 7A is said to be developed by Mitsubishi as the first stage main engine for the H-II rocket since the 2000s. This engine is adopted a two-stage combustion cycle system with high fuel efficiency. The real model of booth part scaled 3.4 meters in length and 1,7 tons in weight was exhibited there. The bursting sound of the simulation engine was really dramatic and amazing.
Besides this exhibit, many previous H-type rocket models were displayed there in the hall, and it is showing how the Japanese space rocket has been advancing till now in which the MHI engineer team has actively involved in its development. Also, it provides the pseudo environment model of the Japanese space station and describes the future goal of space development. There was a video room so called “Frontier Theater” too to show the future image of space development.
On the other hand, in the flight aviation corner the museum placed the simulator of commercial jet aircraft MRJ which is currently under development by MHI as a flagship project. So this zone is the most popular site among visitors. The exterior and interior of MRJ’s nose and front torso part are displayed there, and it is possible to try the flight simulation of MRJ in the cockpit.
♣ Deep Ocean Development Zone
The MHI has been building many functional special vessels, such as submarines and deep sea exploration vessels in addition to the conventional passenger ships, container ships, LPG ships, and so on. Among them, the museum is exhibiting a full-scale manned submersible ship “Shinkai 6500” and the deep earth exploration vessel “Chikyu”. Here, the interior part of the vessels had been reproduced in detail there, so the real facilities such as the mounted manipulator, pressure hull, buoyancy material, etc. can be observed seen as well as the outside appearance of the submersible ship,
In the deep ocean part of the earth, there existed many mistrial things that are not yet known in human world, such as in the field of geology, topography, biological environment, and ocean resources that assumed sleeping in the deep ocean. So the exploration of this field would be the one of today’s biggest tasks for human race. Then it is indicating how MHI has been engaging with the deep-sea submarines, exploration development in the museum. In this context, this corner might be one of the best facilities to convey the knowledge on the deep-sea scientific research and deep exploration technology.
♣ Land Transportation Zone
This corner displays a large-scale diorama model that makes us imagineabout the future urban construction and transportation system. The theme is how to advance the possible transportation system in future, in particular the public transportation that needs not necessarily rely on automobiles in the worsening global warming and air pollution. The visitors are led to examine the on-going communication network, power supply system and others facilities to securing this safe and comfortable goal of urban life. The museum side calls this simulation like “Perfect City”.
It is attractive part too since it can try driving of future compact tram car there.
♣ Environment and Energy Zone
The MHI has been engaging long time on the nuclear reactor development along with Toshiba andHitachi. This nuclear power is somewhat becoming down in business these days after the Fukushima nuclear accident, but Mitsubishi still continues its R&D activities in the development of nuclear technology by adopting “pressurized water nuclear reactor” systems. The exhibition shows numerous safety mechanisms in the museum in order to prevent accidents, cooling water spray in containers, control system, etc. by the one-thirty scale model with the description of the mechanism of nuclear power generation. Apart from discussions on whether the nuclear power plant is ultimately safe and secure, it was an excellent exhibition that clearly shows the mechanism of nuclear power generation.
In this section, they also introduce the company’s energy development initiatives such as sunlight, wind power and geothermal heat too.
♣ Technology Experiment Zone
There’s an exhibition corner of the Museum called the “Science Plaza” at the part of the museum which presents the appearance of the future of science and technology in the hands-on manner. This corner is the facility for visitors to familiarize the recent science advancement by using various machines and tools. The futuristic science screens and the like are prepared there, so that even the first-time visitors are able to enjoy the advancement of science and life style in future. This corner is quite attractive and gains a good reputation particularly among young generations.
♣ Remarks after visit
After the visit I was coming to feel that the purpose of this museum wasn’t only introducing the challenging technology of Mitsubishi, but also it was trying to show all over the top-notch technology which Japanese engineers are currently challenging in the exhibition, such as the technology of industrial machinery, aircraft, ships, space development equipment. Though this facility wasn’t extensively introduced the MHI’s past business records like showed in the IHI’s i-Muse and Toshiba’s “Science Hall”. But I thought it is a really attractive museum where we can experience the technological challenges in the industry world with tangible models and simulation in the easy-to-understand measures.
The comprehensive guidance and the commentary on the exhibits are available there, so it is an advisable industrial museum to visit for familiarizing Japanese current advancing industrial technology.
- 三菱みなとみらい技術館HP http://www.mhi.co.jp/museum/
- 三菱重工業 Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Co. Ltd. HP (http://www.mhi.co.jp/)
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Co. Ltd. HP (http://www.mhi.com/index.html)
- MRJ ‒ Mitsubishi Regional Jet (http://www.flythemrj.com/j/index.php)
- 宇宙航空研究機 H2 ロケット http://www.jaxa.jp/projects/rockets/h2/index_j.html
- http://www.minatomirai21.com/( 横浜みなとみらい21公式ウェブサイト)