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No. 363, December 1999

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American Companies in Japan


An unnamed Japanese manufacturer of carpets is one of the early buyers of TAPISTRON INTERNATIONAL, INC.'s recently introduced CYP carpet- and rug-making system with its new cut/loop process. The Ringgold, Georgia company's machine, designed to produce carpets and rugs for the high end of the residential and commercial market, works with all types of wool fibers and yields a product that is said to have the look, feel and quality of a handmade material.

With sales predicted at 50 units a year, Japan is seen as a major market for ELECTRO SCIENTIFIC INDUSTRIES, INC.'s Model 5200 Laser uVia Drill. This diode-pumped laser system produces the microvias, or tiny pathways that carry signals from one printed wiring board layer to another, in small-geometry circuit boards and electronic packages. The Model 5200, which is suitable for all materials currently used by the PWB business, can drill more than 20,000 vias per minute in single-layer laminated materials up to 21 x 25 inches on a continuous basis. Portland, Oregon-based ESI gave CANON SALES CO., INC. exclusive marketing rights to the system. The Model 5200 lists for $666,700 in Japan.

As long as the public works construction business in Japan remains good if not strong, SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. apparently has no intention of slowing the introduction of earthmoving equipment for this market. Its latest products are a pair of redesigned large dump trucks, one with a payload capacity of 35.3 tons and the other able to haul 40 tons. New to these trucks is a system that enables them to maintain track on soft ground. The CAT D350EII lists for $652,400, while the CAT D400EII goes for $719,000. Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi is projecting the sale of five of the smaller dump truck in the first year and 15 of the big model.

CONTINENTAL CONTROLS CORP., a big San Diego, California maker of fuel-metering valves for gas turbine and reciprocating engine applications, selected SEALTECH, INC. to distribute three of its products. All CCC valves have a built-in processor that continuously computes the gas flow through the valve and adjust this volume to match the demand from the engine. The products that the Tokyo company is marketing, which can be retrofitted in the field or installed as original equipment, are for gas turbine engines. They span a small gas valve (AGV-10), a large gas valve (AGV-50) and a liquid valve. Prices run from $19,000 to $23,800. Sealtech is projecting combined annual sales of 30 units.

Public utilities and energy providers in Japan have another alternative for producing power when and where it is needed without requiring a large investment in equipment. CAPSTONE TURBINE CORP. signed just-formed ACTIVE POWER CORP. and TAKUMA CO., LTD. as value-added resellers and systems integrators of the Capstone MicroTurbine system. The first model, which can function as a stand-alone unit or be connected to the local electric grid, is the 30-kilowatt Capstone MicroTubine Model 330. Among the chief selling points of its microturbine technology, Woodland Hills, California- based Capstone says, are extremely low levels of nitrous oxide gas emissions, quiet operation, compact size and an ability to use a variety of fuels. Takuma already has commercialized a heat and power cogeneration package based on the Capstone MicroTurbine Model 330 that it plans to market in Japan and elsewhere in East Asia starting in the spring of 2000.

An exchange rate of ¥105=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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