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No. 362, November 1999

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American Companies in Japan


When PARKER HANNIFIN CORP. acquired a controlling (33.4 percent) stake in KURODA PRECISION INDUSTRIES LTD. this past summer (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 357, June 1999, pp. 19-20), the big manufacturer of motion, control, instrumentation and fluid-flow components and systems described the move as better positioning it to capitalize on opportunities in Japan's factory automation market. In the short run, however, the tie-up could have a larger impact on the operations of the struggling Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture producer of pneumatic equipment. For starters, beginning next April, Kuroda Precision will use Parker Hannifin's international sales channels to market its products overseas. Moreover, the Cleveland multinational reportedly will stop manufacturing ball screws in the United States and consolidate that output with Kuroda Precision's for worldwide sale. Parker Hannifin nonetheless will derive some immediate benefit from the alliance since its products will be distributed in Japan through Kuroda Precision's marketing network.

FLOW INTERNATIONAL CORP., the world leader in ultrahigh-precision water-jet technology for cutting, cleaning and food safety applications, believes that its Tokyo subsidiary can sell 10 Flying Bridge abrasive water-jet systems to job shops in the first year of availability in Japan. The Kent, Washington company's optimism reflects all the features that the Flying Bridge delivers for as little as $235,900. These include no tool changes for different jobs because abrasive-jet cutting is accomplished by software- controlled, robotic-motion systems, the ability to go from drawing to cutting in 10 minutes with the FlowMaster Windows-based software, a wide dynamic speed range, an integrated design, a small footprint and easy operator access.

Market newcomer EVEREDE TOOL CO., which specializes in indexable boring tools 12 millimeters and under, is shipping three types of boring bars and associated inserts for cutting steel, nonferrous metals and their alloys as well as such nonmetallics as plastic and fiberglass. HIROSHIMA CORP. represents the Chicago manufacturer. Its products are priced between $60 and $185. Sales could total as much as $943,400 in the first year.

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