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No. 353, February 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


Machine tool builder SHIN NIPPON KOKI CO., LTD., in partnership with DAIWA CAN CO., acquired ORLANDO MACHINE ENGINEERING CENTER from steel container manufacturer U.S. CAN CORP. of Oak Brook, Illinois for an undisclosed price. The renamed Orlando, Florida-based SHIN ORLANDO MACHINE ENGINEERING CENTER supports the global can-making equipment business. It manufactures this equipment as well as provides engineering services, tool and die design and production work, overhaul services and spare parts. SOMEC also produces a line of air-pocket testers formerly known as the Borden Air Pocket Tester and multidie presses, irregular shape flangers and semi-automatic, single-head seamers sold under the Callahan name. The acquisition includes as well U.S. Can's Proprietary Products Group, which builds electrostatic sheet and coil lubricating equipment and supplies chemicals to the glass and bottle industry.

In a major win, ISHIKAWAJIMA-HARIMA HEAVY INDUSTRIES CO., LTD. will supply six big transfer presses to GENERAL MOTORS CORP. The $265.5 million contract covers four 6,500-ton crossbar transfer presses and two 4,500-ton three-dimensional AC servo transfer presses. Shipments are scheduled to begin in mid-2000. To handle the GM order as well as to better position the company to gain contracts from other customers, IHI made its press business an independent division. It also assigned engineers and other IHI people to work directly with GM counterparts and is in the process of expanding staffing at its Troy, Michigan office.

The American market remains a strong draw for Japanese machine tool suppliers. The newest player is HAKUSUI CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES, LTD. The Osaka company recently moved into this business from its primary business of making inorganic pigments. It formed a wholly owned subsidiary in Schaumburg, Illinois to market three CNC (computer numerically controlled) lathe models. What sets its products apart from the competition's is EcoLeg, an environmentally friendly metal processing system. Equipped with this system, Hakusui's lathes cost around $88,500.

In a move designed to bolster their competitive positions around the world in the market for superhard tool tips and other tooling for the metalworking industry, TOSHIBA TUNGALOY CO., LTD. and KENNAMETAL INC. signed a wide-ranging business cooperation agreement. Although both companies will continue to market their own products through their traditional distribution channels, Latrobe, Pennsylvania-based Kennametal will sell complementary Toshiba Tungaloy products through its North American and European sales networks. The Japanese company also will supply its much larger U.S. partner with carbide cutting tools and related components. Other areas of cooperation include product development, R&D and cross- licensing. The two have collaborated on a number of R&D projects since the early 1990s. As part of the tie-up, Kennametal will buy roughly 4.9 percent of Toshiba Tungaloy's outstanding shares for some $14.9 million from TOSHIBA CORP. The transaction will leave Toshiba as the single largest shareholder in Toshiba Tungaloy with a 37 percent stake. Kennametal, a longtime marketer in Japan, recently opened a technical center in Nagoya (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 351, December 1998, p. 17).

Although known as one of the world's largest manufacturers of sewing machines, JUKI CORP. also makes other types of equipment. One is SMT (surface-mount technology) assembly equipment. Since 1987, it has supplied this line on an OEM basis to ZEVATECH, INC., a Morrisville, North Carolina maker of printed circuit board manufacturing equipment. Beginning in April, Juki will use Zevatech's American and European marketing channels to sell on an OEM basis two PWB (printed wiring board) machines. The KE-775 high-speed dispenser features three glue-dispensing heads and automatic controls for constant quality. The KS-1700 is a fully automatic PWB screen printer with machine vision.

This spring, KAWASAKI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. will add a diesel- engine version to the line of three internal-combustion-engine Mule off-road utility vehicles made at the Lincoln, Nebraska plant of KAWASAKI MOTORS MANUFACTURING CORP., U.S.A. KHI codeveloped the 950-cubic-centimeter, 4- stroke, liquid-cooled diesel engine with DAIHATSU MOTOR CO., LTD., which will supply it to KMMC on an OEM basis. The existing Mule models, all of which have two seats, consist of a pair of heavy-duty utility vehicles, including a four-wheel-drive version, capable of hauling more than 800 pounds in their tilting cargo beds and a compact model that can carry over 350 pounds in its tilting cargo bed. KHI expects to sell 2,000 diesel-engine Mules in 1999. This model also will be available in Japan and Europe this summer.

Japan's top maker of precision pumps for the chemicals industry, NIKKISO CO., LTD., has opened an $8.9 million, state-of-the-art cryogenic test facility in North Las Vegas, Nevada. NIKKISO LNG TESTING, INC. provides performance testing of submerged cryogenic pumps and other cryogenic components and systems. It can handle all sizes of pumps at full capacity. On-site piping, power supply and controls permit testing over the full operating curve. Test fluids include liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas as well as such others as nitrogen dioxide, ethane and ammonia. Until the Nevada site became operational, Nikkiso used the testing facility of longtime partner and cryogenic submerged pump developer J.C. CARTER CO., INC. of Costa Mesa, California.

Osaka's DAISHIN KOGYO RESEARCH CO., LTD. has tapped ENGELHARD CORP. to distribute its Flowtron automatic gas flow control system. The Iselin, New Jersey company will market Flowtron by itself as well as with welding machines. The Japanese manufacturer is looking for annual sales of $442,500.

In the latest deal in a collaboration going back to the mid-1950s, TOSHIBA CORP. will build 20 steam turbines and generators for GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. The world's largest supplier of power-generating machinery will use this equipment in systems it sells to the independent companies moving into the U.S. electricity market with the coming of deregulation to this business. The contract could be worth as much as $88.5 million to Toshiba, which will start work on the order in the second half of 1999 at its Yokohama plant. Last year, the Japanese company signed on as a risk- and revenue- sharing partner on GE's next generation of power plants, the combined-cycle H System (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 6).

An exchange rate of ¥113=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaaa

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