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No. 350, November 1998

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Japanese Companies in the US


Precision measuring instrument manufacturer MITUTOYO CORP. is building a second plant in Aurora, Illinois to supply the growing American demand for dial indicators or gauges. Scheduled for operations in June 1999, the $4.4 million factory will have the capacity to produce 2,000 dial indicators a month. The existing Aurora facility can turn out 8,000 gauges monthly. Through its MTI CORP. subsidiary, Mitutoyo will do design work at the new plant to tailor products to customers' requirements. MTI also has facilities in City of Industry, California, Elk Grove Village, Illinois and Plymouth, Michigan.

At a cost of $10 million, TDK CORP.'s Port Washington, New York subsidiary bought EMC AUTOMATION INC., an Austin, Texas designer and manufacturer of test systems used for electronic noise measurements. The acquisition positions TDK to provide a complete solution to the increasingly challenging problem of electronic noise interference. It already is strong in the production of radiowave absorbing materials, EMC (electromagnetic-compatibility) suppression components and advanced anechoic chambers. With access to EMC Automation's test systems capability, TDK now can offer customers EMC test services. The Texas company will be operated as a wholly owned unit of TDK's U.S. subsidiary.

A second Japanese company is working with ATX TECHNOLOGIES, INC., which makes vehicle tracking systems and operates the round-the-clock On-Guard Response Center staffed by emergency communications specialists. ALPINE ELECTRONICS, INC. also joined NICHIMEN CORP. in investing $1 million in the San Antonio, Texas company for a 4.4 percent stake. ATX Technologies will support the January launch by Alpine's Torrance, California subsidiary of the Mobile MayDay System, which will use the Global Positioning System and wireless communications to track vehicles. The On-Guard Response Center will provide 24-hour emergency and concierge services for the Alpine system. Trader Nichimen teamed up with ATX Technologies in September 1997.

Since mid-1991, the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been installing a real-time weather information system across the United States to replace the manual surface observation techniques currently used. By 2002, ASOS (automated surface observing system) units will be installed at more than 900 locations. The lightning-detection sensor in each ASOS unit will be supplied by EIKO PRECISION CO., LTD. of Tokyo. The contract for its MS-092 sensor could be worth as much as $20 million.

An exchange rate of ¥121=$1.00 was used in this report.

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