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No. 356, May 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


NONELECTRIC MACHINERY

Two recent acquisitions have made WELTRONIC/TECHNITRON CORP. the world's largest provider of welding controls with annual sales of $50 million and 250 employees. The Carol Stream, Illinois subsidiary of NADEX CO., LTD. bought the welding controls division of ROBOTRON CORP. of Southfield, Michigan for an undisclosed price and the Farmington Hills, Michigan welding division of MEDAR, INC. for an estimated $37 million. Weltronic/Technitron, in which Nagoya-headquartered Nadex initially acquired a minority interest in 1989, is a preferred supplier of resistance welding controls to FORD MOTOR CO.'s North American operations and a major supplier to GENERAL MOTORS CORP., CHRYSLER CORP. and TOYOTA MOTOR CORP.

OSAKA CHAIN AND MACHINERY, LTD. supplied a pair of 4,700-kilowatt plenetary- type gear reducers to FULLER CO. that will be used as the main drives in the finish mill of an integrated cement plant that the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is building in the Middle East. The Osaka manufacturer says that its 90-ton product has the advantages of low cost, high reliability and easy maintenance. Each of the gear reducers costs $800,000-plus. Osaka Chain hopes that the contract, won in competition with European gear suppliers, will give a boost to its international business since Fuller is the world's leading supplier of cement plants.

Aiming to boost its share of the American sheet metalworking machinery market to 50 percent from 40 percent and its annual U.S. sales to $250 million, AMADA CO., LTD.'s Buena Park, California sales subsidiary opened a large facility in Peabody, Massachusetts to develop what for it is the underserved Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. The Amada East facility houses a product showroom displaying the company's high-speed production laser systems, bending robots, precision press brakes, high-speed turret punch presses, resistance welders, tooling and accessories and programming systems. Amada's sales and service office for the region is located there, as are a product technical center and customer-training areas. Most of the CNC (computer numerically controlled) turret punch presses and punching cells that Amada sells in the United States are made by AMADA MANUFACTURING AMERICA, INC. at plants in La Miranda, California and Covington, Georgia.

IKEGAI CORP. has set the ambitious goal of selling 20 of its new Genesis CNC lathes a month in the United States. The eight models making up the line were developed specifically for the American and European markets. With their high torque and high horsepower, these products are designed for heavy-duty cutting. The Genesis series also has the largest spindle bore in its class. The eight models, which are priced from $58,300 to $95,000, span a wide range of work capacities since chuck sizes of 8 inches to 15 inches are available. Ikegai's Glendale Heights, Illinois subsidiary is in charge of marketing.

With the purchase of textile machinery manufacturer NISSAN TEXSYS CO., LTD. by TOYODA AUTOMATIC LOOM WORKS, LTD., Charlotte, North Carolina-based NISSAN TEXTILE MACHINERY CORP. has been absorbed by the much smaller TOYODA TEXTILE MACHINERY, INC. Also headquartered in Charlotte, TTM is using its enhanced marketing capability to launch U.S. sales of the three-model Toyoda LW600 water-jet loom line. These weaving machines are the water-jet counterparts to the JAT610 air-jet loom that TTM has been selling for the last two years or so. Nissan Textile Machinery was formed in 1977. TTM has been in operation since 1980.

With the U.S. construction equipment business still expanding, FURUKAWA CO., LTD. plans to add small wheel loaders to its current line of cranes and compact bulldozers. Its FURUKAWA UNIC CORP. subsidiary is negotiating with dealers to carry the FL302- 2, FL303-2 and FL304-2 wheel loaders, which range in size from 2.9 tons to 3.9 tons. The company also expects to begin direct sales next year of the FL305-1 wheel loader since the original equipment manufacturer agreement under which DEERE & CO. has sold this 5.2-ton machine expires this summer.

CUMMINS ENGINE CO., INC. of Columbus, Indiana has started sales of a 3.3-liter diesel engine for mobile industrial applications in the United States and Europe. The four-cylinder, naturally aspirated and turbocharged engine, rated at 55 horsepower to 85 hp, is built by KOMATSU CUMMINS ENGINE CORP., an Oyama, Tochigi prefecture joint venture with KOMATSU LTD. under a spring 1998 arrangement (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 6). Over the next three years, KCEC, which has annual sales of about $83.3 million, expects to produce 40,000 3.3-liter engines for sale by both of its parents.

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

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