Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 353, February 1999

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American Companies in Japan


Some of the world's biggest makers of bearings are headquartered in Japan. That does not deter the subsidiary of TIMKEN CO., a Canton, Ohio supplier of roller and other types of bearings. Its latest strategy is to modularize its bearings and market them aggressively to automotive manufacturers, which find modules easier to use on assembly lines. One potential module is the sensor pack, which combines bearings with the sensors for antilock braking systems. Through such product innovations, Timken believes that in time it can win 10 percent of Japan's bearing market.

SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. expects to sell annually 250 of its remodeled 22-ton-class hydraulic excavators to construction companies and equipment leasing firms. The CAT 322B REGA, which has won the Ministry of Construction's designation as a low-noise piece of equipment, features a redesigned hydraulic mechanism that improves performance. It is available with a bucket capacity of 1.3 cubic yards or 1.4 cubic yards at prices starting at $274,300. The Tokyo operation of landscaping equipment manufacturer TORO CO. is marketing a new golf course management riding mower. Depending on the cutting unit attached, the Reelmaster 3100-D, which uses a KUBOTA CORP. liquid-cooled, three-cylinder diesel engine, can cut a swath 72 inches or 85 inches wide. The height of the cut ranges from 1/4 inch to 2- 5/8 inches.

Rochester, New York-based TRANSMATION, INC. has added model 23617P to the line of pneumatic pumps distributed by JAPAN-USA INSTRUMENT CO., LTD. Weighing just 1.1 pounds, the pump switches between vacuum and pressure with the press of a button. In the United States, the pump costs under $500.

The subsidiary of spray systems manufacturer NORDSON CORP. reported revenues of $74.3 million in the year through September 1998, mainly from the sale of spray adhesive equipment used to seal cardboard boxes. It hopes to add to this total by introducing a system that attaches electronic parts to printed circuit boards by spraying them at low pressure with fast-setting polyamide resin. The Amherst, Ohio company's system includes polyamide resin applicators and a workstation with an integrated work table and controllers. The workstation itself costs $25,700 and up. Nordson's subsidiary is projecting sales of 50 units a year.

Small offices in Japan almost always use stamps rather than a postage meter to mail material. The subsidiary of postage meter giant PITNEY BOWES INC. is out to change that. It has introduced Despo (short for desk post office), a compact postage meter that can be rented for as little as $16.80 a month. Moreover, money can be added to the meter simply by making a phone call. To promote Despo, Pitney Bowes will help customers obtain a permit for the meter and register the machine.

HYDROMAID INTERNATIONAL INC., a maker of garbage disposal systems powered exclusively by water, has tied up with PACIFIC AMERICAN CULTURAL EXCHANGE INC. to bring its products to Japan and other Asian markets. The Draper, Utah company will acquire a 50 percent interest in the Tokyo start-up in exchange for PACE's license to distribute HydroMaid systems in 22 countries. To remain the sole distributor, PACE, which will concentrate its marketing efforts initially in Japan, has to sell roughly $2.5 million worth of HydroMaid systems in 1999, $7.2 million in 2000 and $7.7 million each year thereafter. This spring, TOKYO BOEKI LTD. will launch marketing of an innovative distributed power source developed by Torrance, California-based ALLIEDSIGNAL POWER SYSTEMS INC. The 2,000-pound TurboGenerator delivers 75 kilowatts of power. Multiple units can be linked together to produce up to 1 megawatt of electricity. The system can be used for distributed generation, peak-shaving, standby power, off-grid power generation, portable power, cogeneration and uninterruptible power supply. It runs off a number of fuels, including natural gas, diesel fuel, unleaded gasoline and kerosene. The TurboGenerator is said to operate more quietly and to produce fewer vibrations than conventional gas turbines because it has only one moving part in the engine core: a single shaft on which the compressor, turbine and generator are mounted. Tokyo Boeki has exclusive rights to sell, lease, distribute and service the 75-kW TurboGenerator, which will cost between $53,100 and $88,500.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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