Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 356, May 1999

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American Companies in Japan


ELECTRIC MACHINERY

SOLECTRON CORP., which already has made a name for itself as a contract manufacturer for the industrial electronics industry, now has the distinction of being the first U.S.-based electronics manufacturing solutions provider to offer design and manufacturing services in Japan. The Milpitas, California company opened what it calls a New Product Introduction center in Kanagawa prefecture. Designed to shorten a customer's product development cycle, the facility will provide a complete range of electronics premanufacturing services, such as design and layout, testing capabilities, prototype development and concurrent and component engineering. The 20,000- square-foot NPI center, which has three surface-mount manufacturing lines, will specialize in high-mix, low-volume printed circuit board and backplane assembly, complex high-mix, low-volume systems assembly and supply-base management services. The facility initially will be staffed by 54 people, including PCB assembly and component engineers and prototype manufacturing specialists. Solectron has worked directly with Japanese OEMs since it opened an in-country program office in 1992.

A number of experts believe that TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC.'s digital light processing technology, now limited to presentation projectors, could be the big winner in the next generation of rear-projection HDTVs because of its ability to produce bright, clear images and to scale to high resolutions. HITACHI, LTD., a major maker of projection TV sets, certainly is convinced of this potential. It has agreed to use DLP technology to develop the world's first all-digital, large-screen, rear-projection HDTV set. As part of the tie-up, TI will further develop its DLP technology to support HDTV applications with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The agreement also calls for TI and Hitachi to collaborate on the development of new, higher-brightness projection optics, HDTV signal-receiving technology and an image-processing large-scale integrated circuit. TI's DLP technology is based on an optical chip that has an array of microscopic mirrors mounted on a standard logic device. The mirrors operate as optical switches to create a high-resolution, full-color image. Hitachi expects to have HDTV sets incorporating this technology on the market in the United States and Japan in the second half of 2000.

The Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture subsidiary of AMP INC. is adding a compact version of the Dynamic D-3000 Series Connector to its lineup. This made-in-Japan connector system is designed for use with input/output and power circuits in the power and control boards of heavy electrical and factory automation equipment, PCs, numerical controllers, servodrivers and similar products. Approximately 8 million D- 3000s, which have both a wire-side and a board-side connector, have been sold, mostly in Japan.

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

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