Whether American or Japanese, major construction equipment manufacturers see compact hydraulic excavators as the next hot product. Some time this year, HITACHI CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY CO., LTD. will join KOBE STEEL, LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 342, March 1998, p. 5) and KOMATSU LTD. in the American market for mini- excavators, which are aimed at jobs now performed by backhoes. The company plans to adapt the short rear-end swing radius technology found in its midsized hydraulic excavators to the new products so that they, too, can work in confined areas.
UBE INDUSTRIES, LTD. and its primary customer for large plastic injection molding machines, the Visteon Automotive Systems parts-making operation of FORD MOTOR CO., have renewed a 1992 supply arrangement. Under the new, blanket contract, the Japanese company, which has built equipment in the 500-ton to 4,000-ton class in Ann Arbor, Michigan since the fall of 1996, has the right to supply large injection molding machines to Ford plants around the world.
Like many other companies whose exports to East Asia have been hurt by the region's economic turmoil, NACHI-FUJIKOSHI CORP. is putting more emphasis on sales in the United States. To support this strategy, the manufacturer of ball and roller bearings, cutting and machine tools, robotic equipment and hydraulic equipment is relocating its main U.S. marketing subsidiary from Carlstadt, New Jersey to Indianapolis, Indiana to be closer to its automotive customers. It also will open a fifth marketing office. Nachi-Fujikoshi makes bearings in Greenwood, Indiana and machine tools through its NATIONAL BROACH & MACHINE CO. subsidiary in Macomb, Michigan.
The first Japanese producer of digital picking systems is moving into the U.S. market. CAP AI SYSTEM CO., LTD., an affiliate of SEKISUI JUSHI CORP., will open a subsidiary in the Atlanta area in June to market the CAP 7000 Series and, at some undisclosed time, the new CAP10 model. The company expects to be doing $15.5 million worth of business in four years. In preparation for the launch of sales, the manufacturer formed a technical support company, AIOI SYSTEMS USA CORP., in San Jose, California last year.
An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.