Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 346, July 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


The world leader in equipment for rapid product development, 3D SYSTEMS CORP., has tapped HITACHI ZOSEN INFORMATION SYSTEMS CORP. to sell, service and support the Actua 2100 3D printer. The Tokyo company brings considerable expertise to this job since it develops and sells CAD/CAM/CAE systems as well as rapid prototyping systems. The size of an office copier, the network-ready Actua 2100 operates as a CAD peripheral similar to a printer or a plotter. Like the Valencia, California's SLA-5000 stereolithographic rapid prototyping system for turning CAD files into solid, 3D models, the Actua 2100 is designed to help manufacturers create models quickly and cost-effectively. The SLA-5000 is distributed by INCS INC. of Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture.

Going up against the new pairing is another powerful team: SANDERS PROTOTYPE, INC. and TOYODA MACHINE WORKS, LTD., one of Japan's biggest machine tool builders. It is selling the Wilton, New Hampshire company's $85,700 ModelMaker II rapid prototyping system. SPI claims that its small-footprint system, which has a maximum build envelope of 12 x 6 x 9 inches, is up to 10 times more precise than competitors' products. The ModelMaker II also is said to be flexible enough to produce tooling-grade patterns ready for casting or mold making as well as concept models. Toyoda Machine Works expects to sell 13 systems in the first year of marketing and 48 over three years.

A variety of pumps from TRANSCAT INC. and the Rochester, New York company's affiliates are on the market through JAPAN-USA INSTRUMENT CO., LTD. The Kobe distributor is handling a line of hand pumps that provide pneumatic pressure up to 600 pounds per square inch, thereby eliminating the need for hydraulic fluids in this psi range. It also is marketing a hand-actuated pressure pump that generates up to 145 psi as well as two precision pressure pumps, one that generates up 100 psig (pounds per square inch gauge) and the other that produces as much as 600 psig. Several vacuum pumps are included, too. Japan-USA Instrument has forecast combined sales of 200 units. Many of the pump models are priced around $700.

New York City's TURBOCHEF, INC., a designer of high-speed cooking systems, is moving into Japan's food-service market with the help of exclusive agent KANEMATSU CORP. The trader has bought about $1 million worth of TurboChef equipment for market-development purposes. It will focus specifically on the nontraditional food-service market. Once sales begin, marketing will be handled by FOOD MACHINES INTERNATIONAL LTD., a national distributor of primarily high-end food-service equipment, and by a food-service consulting company. The TurboChef cooking system employs proprietary hardware and software technologies to "cook to order" a variety of foods at speeds said to be 10 to 15 times faster than other commercial ovens while providing superior quality.

An exchange rate of ¥140=$1.00 was used in this report.

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