Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 340, January 1998

Issue Index

 American Companies in Japan


Having pooled their technical expertise and resources in the field of diesel engines, CUMMINS ENGINE CO. INC. and KOMATSU LTD. have extended their alliance to industrial engines. They formed an equally owned company headquartered in Oyama, Tochigi prefecture to design and develop engines for the worldwide construction equipment market. Development work will be conducted in both Japan and the United States, with the resultant technologies manufactured by each of the parents. In late 1993 Cummins, the world's biggest producer of diesel engines above 200 horsepower, and Komatsu, which ranks second in the international construction equipment market, set up joint ventures on both sides of the Pacific to manufacture diesel engines. The U.S. venture makes Komatsu-designed 30-liter engines at a Cummins plant in Seymour, Indiana. The Japanese venture manufactures Cummins' B Series of diesel engines at a Komatsu plant in Oyama.

SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD., equally owned by construction equipment world leader CATERPILLAR INC. and MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD., continues its aggressive launch of Cat products in an effort to better its number-two Japan market standing behind KOMATSU LTD. Recent introductions include two models in the REGA B series of large (45-ton) hydraulic excavators. These shovels are priced between $434,600 and $490,000. With their advanced features, Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi expects to sell a combined total of 170 of the 345B and 345BL models a year. The company also has on the market the largest mining truck available in Japan. Capable of hauling 195 tons, the 789B already has been sold to NITTETSU MINING CO., LTD. of Tokyo. Given the decline in mining in Japan, Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi is projecting sales of just one or two of the new mining trucks a year.

Market newcomer EPILOG CORP. of Golden, Colorado expects to sell 50 of its high- performance laser cutting and engraving systems in the first year of Japan marketing. These computer-controlled systems, marketed under the Radius name, engrave and cut wood, plastics, rubber, glass and coated materials. Target markets include award and engraving, furniture manufacturing, plastics fabricating and signage. The 25-watt laser system costs $34,500, while the 50-watt version goes for $58,400 and the 100- watt type is priced at $76,800. Epilog's distributor is AMA TECH CO., LTD. of Amagasaki, Hyogo prefecture.

With Japanese companies trying to shorten their product development and manufacturing cycles, another American supplier of rapid prototyping systems believes a significant market exists for its products. DTM CORP.'s Sinterstation 2500 uses a process known as selective laser sintering that is applicable to everything from direct production of functional models to prototype manufacturing. Equally key, says the Austin, Texas company, the Sinterstation 2500 can work with a variety of powdered materials. ASPECT CORP. is DTM's exclusive distributor. It has priced the Sinterstation 2500 around $538,500. Given the system's claimed strengths, the Tokyo company thinks that it can sell 20 units a year. PRESSTEK, INC. — the developer of the PEARL thermal laser diode system for imaging various types of printing plates either off-press or on-press for the production of full-color lithographic printed materials — has an agreement in principle with FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD. covering joint development and sales of various products that use the Hudson, New Hampshire firm's technology. The two firms also are discussing the OEM supply of Presstek products to Fujifilm, which is Japan's leading maker of graphic arts consumables and electronic imaging equipment in addition to being number one in consumer photographic film and paper.

The pioneer of DDC (direct digital control) systems for heating, ventilation and air- conditioning equipment in commercial buildings, ALERTON TECHNOLOGIES, INC., has teamed up with TOKIMEC INC. to bring BACtalk to the local market. BACtalk, which provides total HVAC control for buildings, complies with the BACnet standard, a nonproprietary open-data communications protocol for building automation and control networks. The Redmond, Washington company's product includes BACtalk for Windows for the operator's terminal, the LAN (local area network) System Integrator, the VisualLogic Controller family of field controllers, and sensors, including Microset for digital readout of temperatures and setpoints.

SOLAR TURBINES INC. of San Diego, California, a CATERPILLAR INC. company, is supplying three different gas turbines to MITSUI ENGINEERING & SHIPBUILDING CO., LTD. for use in cogeneration systems. MES hopes to double that part of its business by the year 2000. The products covered by the deal are the Centaur 50, a 4,350-kWe single-shaft, constant-speed engine; the Taurus 60, a 5,200-kWe single- shaft, constant-speed engine, and the Taurus 70, a 6,844-kWe two-shaft, variable- speed engine; and the 9,285-kWe Mars 90 and the 10,695-kWe Mars 100. All these models are available in a pollution-prevention configuration.

Japan's top manufacturer of movable theater and stadium seating, KAYABA INDUSTRY CO., LTD., is in the process of installing a stadium seating movement system built by Seattle-based SI TECHNOLOGIES, INC. in the Kitakyushu Media Dome on the southern island of Kyushu. This multiuse facility is designed primarily for world-class bicycle racing. It can be converted to other uses by positioning Kayaba's seating structures or wagons over the race track. To do this, SI's Aero-Caster and Aero-Plank air-bearing system will move the eight seating wagons, each of which weighs as much as 25,000 pounds, 260 feet to the central portion of the track and then extend the seating system over the race track. Kayaba also has selected SI's air- bearing system for movable seating for installation in a multiuse theater.

An exchange rate of ¥130=$1.00 was used in this report.

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