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No. 365, February 2000

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American Companies in Japan


With an eye on gaining share in the very competitive market for compact (less than 6 tons) hydraulic excavators in both Japan and the United States, SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. will integrate development activities for all of its excavators in the hope of achieving synergies. The 10-person Kanagawa prefecture team now working on mini- excavators will relocate to Hyogo prefecture, where Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi's development center for midsize and large hydraulic shovels is located. That reorganization is expected to benefit the compact excavators developed for sale by CATERPILLAR INC. Exports of 4.5-ton and 5.5-ton shovels to the world leader in earthmoving equipment were scheduled to start in February. .....Owners of SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. construction equipment will have more opportunities to replace such worn-out components as engines, transmissions, hydraulic cylinders and hydraulic pumps with recycled parts. The company's CMEC CO., LTD. subsidiary in Sagamihara, Kanagawa prefecture, which is in charge of refurbishing parts, will recycle a wider range of parts. Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi estimates that a recycled engine or transmission costs about half what a new one does.

HELISYS INC., a manufacturer of systems for rapid prototyping and direct manufacturing, licensed TOYODA MACHINE WORKS, LTD. to make and market in Japan its Helisys Laminated Object Manufacturing equipment. Like other rapid prototyping systems, the LOM system is capable of directly producing parts, models and molds from three- dimensional computer-aided design software using Helisys' proprietary technology. The multiyear technology licensing agreement, the Torrance, California company says, represents the latest evolution of its relationship with big machine tool builder Toyoda Machine Works, enabling Helisys to better meet the requirements of customers in the world's third-largest market for rapid prototyping equipment.

In an important win for HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC.'s innovative distributed power source (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 20), exclusive distributor TOKYO BOEKI LTD. delivered six 75-kW TurboGenerators to MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. A key selling point of the microgas turbine is a power- generating efficiency of 28.5 percent. The units shipped to MELCO are rated at 27 percent, but by late summer, Honeywell International engineers expect to raise efficiency to the advertised level. The TurboGenerator was developed by the power systems group of the former AlliedSignal Inc., which in December merged with Honeywell Inc. to form Honeywell International.

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