Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 355, April 1999

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American Companies in Japan


With demand expanding for its LightCaster microdisplay panels in consumer electronics products, DISPLAYTECH, INC. has decided to tap the manufacturing expertise of MIYOTA CO., LTD. to boost volume. The Longmont, Colorado company's ferroelectric liquid crystal display technology is said to produce images of unmatched clarity, color and intensity in a lightweight package that is inexpensive to manufacture. Nagano-based Miyota will install a production line dedicated to LightCaster microdisplays, all of which will be sold by Displaytech. That company will continue to make the product, as will HEWLETT-PACKARD CO., currently the main source of the FLC microdisplay. Once the Miyota line is up and running, it will become the volume supplier.

AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY CORP. is negotiating with two companies to license its sound technology. SANYO TECHNOSOUND CO., LTD. is interested in the San Diego, California firm's Stratified Field Technology. This thin- panel, loudspeaker transducer technology eliminates the "speaker box," making it ideal for products that benefit from physically flat or uniquely shaped loudspeakers that deliver quality sound. AKAI ELECTRIC CO., LTD. is weighing this technology as well as ATC's HyperSonic Sound Technology. HSS is a new process that employs ultrasonic tones to produce sound directly in the air. That capability is said to eliminate many forms of distortion and to reduce room acoustical effects as well as to create sound applications not possible with existing speaker technology.

With semiconductor makers scheduled to begin volume shipments this year of RAMBUS INC.'s high-bandwidth Direct RDRAM, the subsidiary of big connector maker MOLEX INC. has put on the market Direct Rambus RIMM socket connectors. The Lisle, Illinois company's 184-circuit, 1- millimeter-pitch product provides transmission speeds of 800 MHz and 1.6 GB per second of peak bandwidth.

The subsidiary of Andover, Massachusetts-head-quartered VICOR CORP., the largest merchant manufacturer of high-density power components, is projecting first-year sales of $5 million for its MultiPAC family of semicustom switches for industrial use. These products are designed for such applications as semiconductor production equipment and test equipment. Vicor's marketing unit was formed last summer after the company bought most of the assets of the power supply business of JAPAN TOBACCO INC., which had become Vicor's exclusive manufacturing and marketing licensee in Japan in 1995 (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 14).

An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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