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Sumitomo Rubber Industries
Sophisticated vibration control damper technology
will guard restored Kumamoto Castle

Tatsuji Matsumoto
General Manager
Vibration Control System Business Unit
Sumitomo Rubber Industries

Having felt the ground move beneath our feet,
we are aiming for an earthquake-resistant future

Vibration control dampers absorb shaking. Sumitomo Rubber Industries began developing this technology in the 1990s, initially for bridges, and released the MIRAIE damping system, employing state-of-the-art high-damping rubber, for houses in 2012.

The MIRAIE damper system has much to recommend it. As well as offering superior vibration control performance—absorbing 95% of vibration—and maintenance-free use for 90years, it is compact, attractively priced and highly versatile.

Tatsuji Matsumoto comments: “As a company, we experienced and were affected by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995 and the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, and so we really know how important good seismic performance of buildings can be. Our ambition is to make vibration control dampers standard equipment on houses. With that in mind, we are doing everything possible to encourage a broad take-up of these systems.”

Vibration control damper system adopted for Kumamoto Castle’s keep (photo below) Dedicated 100-ton tester (photo above) for evaluating seismic performance

During the seven-year development project, Sumitomo Rubber Industries frequently performed demonstrations open to the public and visited house builders to explain the need for vibration control dampers.

When the Kumamoto Earthquake struck in 2016, houses equipped with MIRAIE suffered no damage from the Scale 7 quake. Obayashi Corporation, the main contractor for the Kumamoto Castle restoration project, noted how well MIRAIE had performed during the calamity and decided to adopt the damping technology for the castle keep. Since the system will be installed at a popular sightseeing spot that attracts many thousands of visitors, long life and compactness are essential. Confidence in Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ ability to satisfy the challenging requirements led to the decision to go with MIRAIE. “We are delighted by the recognition our technology is gaining,” says a beaming Matsumoto.

The damping technology is also going to be used for Higurashi Villa, a wooden building associated with the Sumitomo family that dates back to 1906 and was relocated to Niihama, Ehime Prefecture, very recently. Sumitomo Rubber Industries’ technology is attracting keen interest.

Reprinted from SUMITOMO QUARTERLY NO.154

Number(From the Sumitomo/Society Interface)