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January 16, 2009

Sales of Products Equipped with Sharp’s Plasmacluster Ion Technology Reach 20 Million Units Worldwide

Installed for the First Time in Railcars (Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa Service)

Total sales of products from Sharp Corporation and from companies in other industries equipped with Plasmacluster Ion technology, Sharp’s revolutionary proprietary air purification technology, reached 20 million units worldwide at the end of December 2008. Sharp has been able to achieve this milestone in eight years and three months after first embedding this technology in air purifiers in September 2000 to deactivate harmful substances such as viruses and mold in the air.

Based on the results of “academic marketing”, a collaborative research approach to product marketing, that works in collaboration with independent research organizations to demonstrate efficacy and performance, Plasmacluster Ion technology has been deployed across product lines at Sharp to include air purifiers, air conditioners, front-loading washer/dryers, and LED lightings. Recently, the IG-A100 High-Concentration Plasmacluster Ion Generator first introduced in October 2008 has been receiving high marks. And, this technology has been embedded in air conditioners and refrigerators destined for overseas markets, and is currently in wide use in 58 countries around the world.

Sharp has also been taking a proactive approach to introducing this technology in products from other industrial sectors, and it has now been embedded in products such as car air conditioners, toilets, and elevators. This technology is also being used in products from other business areas intended for overseas markets.

It took approximately five years to reach sales of 10 million units, but required only about three years to go from 10 million to 20 million total units sold. This illustrates that the use of Plasmacluster Ion technology is spreading at an accelerating pace. In the future, Sharp will be working to increase its social value by expanding its Plasmacluster Ion business.

Installation in Railcars for the First Time
In collaboration with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., a manufacturer of rolling stock such as railcars, and Denso Corporation, an automotive parts supplier, Sharp has now developed an air purification system for railcars.

This technology has now been installed in the new fleet of E3-2000 series trains for the Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa service of the East Japan Railway Company. It is the first time that Plasmacluster Ion technology has been adopted for use in railcars.

Steps to Achieving Total Worldwide Sales of 20 Million Products Equipped with Plasmacluster Ion Technology
Sharp originally developed Plasmacluster Ion technology in September 2000 for the first time in the world to deactivate airborne microorganisms by releasing positive and negative ions into the air.

At the time, a number of social issues were becoming apparent, including
1) Increasing awareness of health around the world,
2) A deterioration in the quality of indoor air attributable to the greater number of super-insulated houses,
3) An increasing number of people afflicted with allergic illnesses from allergens such as pollen and dust mites, and
4) Increasing demands from individuals to be able to protect themselves against mold and viruses.
Air purification with Plasmacluster Ion technology received high marks as a revolutionary technology supporting the resolution to such problems. Sharp has thus been embedding the technology in a variety of products such as air conditioners.

Collaborative Research with Academic Institutions
Sharp early on adopted “academic marketing”, a marketing method that obtains scientific proof of the effectiveness of a certain technology through collaborative research with leading academic institutions and develops consumer products based on this proof. Working together with 13 academic research organizations around the world, Sharp has boosted confidence in this technology by demonstrating its efficacy and performance against a total of 27 pathogens and harmful substances, including airborne viruses, allergens, mold, and adsorbed odors. Following the demonstration of its efficacy and performance, Sharp explained the mechanism involved in deactivating these substances, proving scientifically that an effect on a wide range of harmful airborne substances having protein surfaces could be expected. This represented “Phase II,” and now Sharp is moving forward into “Phase III”—demonstrating the effectiveness of the technology in actual living spaces.

Expansion Across Product Lines at Sharp
Sharp adopted Plasmacluster Ion technology first for use in air-conditioning products such as air purifiers and air conditioners, followed by refrigerators, cyclonic vacuum cleaners, and front-loading washer/dryers. In 2008, Sharp embedded this technology in LED lightings, and then introduced a Plasmacluster Ion generator, the first-ever product designed specifically to deliver ions at high concentrations. Sharp now offers ten types of products featuring Plasmacluster Ion technology.

Expansion to Other Industries
In addition to deployment across its own products, Sharp has been working to build its OEM business for these devices with the goal of expanding the use of Plasmacluster Ion technology into other business areas. Starting with a toilet with bidet seat from INAX Corporation in February 2002, it has been adopted for a variety of applications, including equipment designed for use in homes, vehicles, public institutions, housing complexes, and such. With its adoption in an air purification system for railcars from Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Plasmacluster Ion generators are now in use in the products of 24 different companies (as of January 16, 2009).

Evolution of the Technology
Since the development of the first generation in 2000, Plasmacluster Ion devices have made progress, including an improved electrode system, more compact size, reduced power consumption, and increased volume of ions generated. The current device represents the 7th generation, and in 2008, Sharp introduced product groups equipped with a high-concentration Plasmacluster Ion generator based on this 7th-generation device. The newly developed IG-A100 Plasmacluster Ion Generator (for home use) is a specialized unit to generate Plasmacluster Ions at high concentrations that decompose and deactivate airborne viruses, control the growth of mold fungus attached to surfaces, and quickly reduce adsorbed odors clinging to fibers in fabrics such as in curtains and sofas. The value of Plasmacluster Ion technology has been widely accepted, and products featuring the technology are highly rated.

Current Sharp Products Featuring Plasmacluster Ion Technology
(as of January 16, 2009)

Product name
Air purifiers
Air conditioners
Portable room air cooler/clothes dryer/dehumidifiers
Humidifying ceramic fan heaters
Cyclonic vacuum cleaners
Front-loading washer/dryers
Plasmacluster Ion generators
LED lightings

Experimental Proof of Efficacy Attained Through Collaborative Research with Research Organizations in Japan and Abroad

Target Harmful Substance Testing & Verification Organization
Airborne viruses Kitasato Research Center of Environmental Sciences, Japan
Seoul National University, Korea
Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China
Kitasato Institute Medical Center Hospital, Japan
Retroscreen Virology, Ltd., UK
Airborne allergens Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter, Hiroshima University, Japan
Asthma Society of Canada, Canada
Airborne mold fungi Ishikawa Health Service Association, Japan
Professor Gerhard Artmann, Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Airborne bacteria Ishikawa Health Service Association, Japan
Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China
Kitasato Research Center of Environmental Sciences, Japan
Kitasato Institute Medical Center Hospital, Japan
Professor Gerhard Artmann, Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Harvard School of Public Health, US
Adhering odors Japan Spinners Inspecting Foundation, Japan
Adhering mold fungi University of Lübeck, Germany
Japan Food Research Laboratories, Japan

Note: Results of testing and verification experiments for other target harmful substances performed at the same organization at the same time have been omitted.

Companies in Other Industries Adopting Plasmacluster Ion Technology (total: 24)
Note: As of January 16, 2009; official corporate names omitted.

Company Product
INAX Toilet with bidet seat
MAX Electric bathroom heater/ventilator/dryer, 24-hour ventilation system
TOSTEM Electric bathroom heater/ventilator/dryer
DENSO ACE Whole-house air conditioning system
Nissan Motor Car air conditioner, car air purifier
DENSO Car air purifier, car Plasmacluster Ion generator, car air conditioner
Toyota Motor Car air purifier, car air conditioner
Rinnai Gas fan heater, hot-water bathroom heater/dryer
Osaka Gas Gas fan heater
Toho Gas Gas fan heater, hot-water bathroom heater/dryer
Saibu Gas Gas fan heater
Fujitec Elevator
Daihatsu Motor Car air conditioner
Tornex Smoke control system
Misawa Homes 24-hour floor central ventilation system
Tokyo Gas Gas fan heater
Shimizu Plasmacluster Ion duct system
Takara Standard Mist sauna
Hino Motors Bus air conditioner
Isuzu Motors Bus air conditioner
Endo Lighting Lighting fixture with built-in Plasmacluster Ion generator
TOMY Air cleaner
Nippon Calmic Air sanitizer
Kawasaki Heavy Industries Air purifier systems for railcars

The above information is true and accurate at the time of publication. Manufacture, sale, price and specifications of products may be subject to change.

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