Japan-US Business Report Logo

No. 356, May 1999

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American Companies in Japan


MEADE INSTRUMENTS CORP. of Irvine, California, which bills itself as the world's leading manufacturer of astronomical telescopes for the serious amateur, gave Yokohama-based MIC INTERNATIONAL CORP. exclusive rights to market its ETX- 90EC Astro Telescope as well as the #497 Autostar Computer Controller, which, plugged into the telescope in place of the standard handheld electronic controller, automatically locates virtually any astronomical object in the sky. The telescope with its Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design costs $1,000; the computer controller adds another $250 to the price.

Two more probe products that result from the collaboration between HEWLETT- PACKARD CO. and FUTUREPLUS SYSTEMS CORP. of Colorado Springs, Colorado. They allow users of HP's logic analyzers to debug, test and verify the compliance of AGP 4X ports or the IEEE-1394 bus with industry standards at full speed. HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD. priced the HP FSI-60032 AGP 4X bus analyzer probe at $27,000. Sales of that product are forecast at 50 units a year. HP Japan expects to sell annually 150 of the HP FSI-60030 IEEE-1394 analyzer probes, which list for $10,800.

Probe cards manufactured by FORMFACTOR, INC. that interface with many popular testers for probing microprocessors and memory products are available through INNOTECH CORP. Probe cards are one of the Livermore, California company's three main products. FormFactor also is working with SHINKO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES CO., LTD. to advance the semiconductor industry's first wafer-level back-end process, dubbed WOW for wafer on wafer (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 19).

TEKTRONIX, INC., the top supplier of high-performance arbitrary waveform generators used by design engineers to analyze the read-channel performance of disk drives, has a new product on the market through SONY TEKTRONIX CORP. The performance enhancements of the AWG 610 reflect in part a proprietary digital/analog converter developed by the Beaverton, Oregon test and measurement company's research labs, including its longtime joint venture in Japan.

The DigiRite 2000 laser direct imaging system for printed circuit board production will be distributed exclusively by ALTECH CO., LTD. under a contract with manufacturer ETEC SYSTEMS, INC. The Hayward, California company says that the system eliminates 80 percent of the manufacturing steps employed in the current PCB primary imaging process and simultaneously increases yields. This is possible, Etec adds, because the DigiRite 2000 eliminates job setup and operates like a networked laser printer, imaging the circuit design directly onto a PCB panel. Altech has installed a DigiRite 2000 system in its demonstration facilities in Tokyo.

SELA USA INC., a Santa Clara, California manufacturer of sample preparation systems for the semiconductor industry, has completed the installation of its first MC500 system in Japan. The chipmaker's name was not disclosed, but it had bought other equipment from SELA before contracting for the $200,000 or so MC500 system. This system, introduced last December, performs automatic scanning electron microscopy preparation of both die and wafer-level samples within 15 minutes per sample. Earlier this year, SELA selected a new distributor to build on its growing success in the Japanese market (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 353, February 1999, p. 21).

For months, IMATRON INC. has complained that demand for its Ultrafast CT (computed tomography) scanner has been strong but that a lack of financing for potential buyers has hurt sales significantly (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 352, January 1999, p. 17). Help finally has arrived. The South San Francisco, California manufacturer has worked out a deal with MARUBENI CORP. under which the trader will provide capital to the company's distributor to finance purchases of Ultrafast CT scanners from Imatron.

COLORADO MEDTECH, INC., a Boulder, Colorado provider of advanced medical equipment, has contracted with HITACHI MEDICAL CORP. to add hardware and software enhancements to HMC's STRATIS II short-bore, high-field magnetic resonance system. The goal is to incorporate in the imaging system such cutting-edge capabilities as high-power, high-speed gradients, rapid imaging techniques and the latest cardiac applications. Colorado MEDtech and HMC are coordinating the R&D work through HITACHI MEDICAL SYSTEMS AMERICA, INC. of Twinsburg, Ohio, which sells and services Hitachi Medical's MR equipment in the United States.

Two U.S. companies are counting on HITACHI MEDICAL CORP.'s strong position in Japan's medical diagnostic imaging market to gain significant entry for their products. ADAC LABORATORIES, the world leader in nuclear medicine and radiation therapy planning systems, named HMC the exclusive distributor of its nuclear medicine systems. This line includes nuclear medicine gamma cameras, related computer systems and application software. HMC also will assume service responsibility for ADAC's installed equipment base as well as install the Milpitas, California maker's dual-head cameras and provide training and field service. At the same time, ADAC and HMC are exploring the possibility of collaborating on nuclear medicine technology. ATL ULTRASOUND, a leader in diagnostic ultrasound technology, also has tapped HMC to distribute its HDI 5000cv system. The Bothell, Washington company claims that this $1 million system gives clinicians unprecedented diagnostic imaging capabilities, thanks to breakthrough developments in high-definition imaging.

Telemedicine has multiple benefits for patients, doctors, hospitals and insurers. KLT TELECOM, INC. of Chantilly, Virginia can deliver the benefits of telemedicine as well as teleradiology through its VIEWSEND Medical line of Windows NT-compatible, PC- based medical imaging and videoconferencing systems and integrated VIEWSEND Medical software. KLT has teamed with MELON SYSTEM CORP. to bring this technology to Japan. The Tokyo-based company, in turn, signed FUJI MEDICAL SYSTEMS CO., LTD., which has strong marketing ties to Japan's 6,000 or so hospitals, to distribute VIEWSEND Medical. Depending on the model, the system costs between $58,300 and $66,700. Between them, Melon and Fuji Medical believe that they can sell 30 VIEWSEND Medical systems a year.

HOGY MEDICAL CO., LTD. has formed a 60-person team to market some 200 patient- care products manufactured by DEROYAL INDUSTRIES, INC. The Powell, Tennessee company's diverse line of what are known as orthopedic soft goods includes cervical collars, knee immobilizers and ankle splints as well as products designed specifically for athletes, such as bracing. Hogy also is marketing supplies for fracture management and various splints, plus a selection of products for wound care. The Tokyo-based distributor hopes to build DeRoyal's products into a $4.2 million annual business initially. In the future, Hogy wants to expand the selection to roughly 5,000 products. DeRoyal is the largest supplier of orthopedic soft goods to hospitals and clinics in the United States.

The exclusive global marketing alliance established in 1995 between reagent supplier DADE BEHRING INC. of Deerfield, Illinois and SYSMEX CORP., a Kobe maker of hemostasis analyzers, has been extended. To date, the partners have installed more than 3,000 hemostasis systems in laboratories around the world. These analyzers and reagents are used to test the ability of a person's blood to form and dissolve clots. Four Sysmex hemostasis analyzers, scaled to meet the requirements of small-, medium- and high-volume laboratories, are available through the pair.

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

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