Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. Business Information, Profile, and History
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History of Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.
Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. is a manufacturer of measuring instruments, semiconductors, integrated circuits, drive components, open remote processing input/output (PIO) devices, and organic photo conductors for printers and copiers. The firm operates with four main business segments, including the Energy & Electric Systems Group, the Electronics Group, the ED&C Drive Systems Group, and the Retail Support Equipment & Systems Group. As part of its management plan, Fuji Electric is focused on expansion in business areas related to the environment, information systems, services, and components. While the company is international in scope, the majority of Fuji Electric's sales stem from its domestic operations.
Fuji Electric was founded in 1923 as a joint venture to facilitate technological cooperation between Furukawa Electric of Japan and Siemens of Germany. Nearly a year and a half after its founding, Fuji Electric began production at a new factory in Kawasaki, near Tokyo. The company manufactured a variety of electrical components as well as telephones. In 1930, Fuji began making mercury-arc rectifiers, and in 1933 it added porcelain expansion-type circuit breakers to its product line. As the joint research between Furukawa and Siemens led Fuji further into the heavy machinery sector, Fuji decided that its telephone division would be better off as a separate company, and in 1935 that division was incorporated as Fujitsu, Ltd.
A second technical agreement, between Fuji and the German company Voith, led to a production agreement for that company's 4850-horsepower Francis turbines. As electric power came into widespread use in Japan, particularly in industry, Fuji began production of small and industrial watt-hour meters and larger, more advanced circuit breakers.
As militarists consolidated their hold on the Japanese government during the 1930s, they promoted a rapid economic and military mobilization. As Japan marched toward World War II, Fuji came under a greater degree of central control, leading it to cooperate more closely with other manufacturing interests related to Furukawa Electric. As a result, new factories at Matsumoto, Fukiage, Tokyo, and Mie were completed between 1942 and 1944 and immediately brought on line to manufacture a variety of products for the war effort. These factories were heavily bombed in the last year of the war, effectively crippling the company.
When the war ended in 1945, Fuji Electric was placed in government custody until military investigations were carried out and the company could be rehabilitated. Fuji began production again in stages, as factories were repaired and markets recovered.
In 1952, Fuji Electric helped to establish the heavy engine manufacturer Fuji Diesel, and the following year Fuji concluded another technical agreement, with the West German company Demag, to license technology for the production of magnetic motor starters, which it began to produce in 1954.
To a country so poor in natural resources, atomic power held tremendous potential in the 1950s. Accordingly, Fuji Electric joined the Daiichi Atomic Power Industry Group. Founded in 1956, this consortium of 22 companies built the first nuclear power plant in Japan through a combination of technology development and licensing. The 166-megawatt Tokai Nuclear Power plant went on line in 1960.
Fuji developed in two directions during the 1960s. It engineered larger and more powerful heavy machinery, such as transformers and propulsion equipment, and at the same time pioneered new diode and miniature circuit technologies. Fuji's strengths in research and development were greatly enhanced by the establishment in 1964 of its Central Research Laboratory.
During this period, Fuji built new factories in Chiba, Kobe, and Suzuka to manufacture heavy transformers, control systems, switchgears, and motors. The company also made a technical agreement with Seeburg of the United States to purchase vending machine technology. The machines, produced at the Mie factory, became very profitable. Fuji's manufacturing capacity was expanded further in 1968 when it took over the operations of its smaller rival, Kawasaki Denki Seizo.
By 1970, Fuji Electric began to recognize that its spectacular growth had left weaknesses in its organization. Rival manufacturers had emerged with stronger positions in several markets. The company took measures to strengthen the Furukawa group, but it also set up a second, more specialized 15-company group specifically for heavy industrial projects.
Fuji Electric opened its eighth factory, to manufacture circuit breakers and control systems, in Ohtawara in 1974. The company also introduced a variety of new products and processes, including large-capacity steel furnaces, process computers, and robots during the early 1970s.
Fuji survived the oil crisis of 1973 without great strain, and in the mid-1970s started to benefit from the dove-tailing of research efforts carried out with Fuji group members, primarily Fujitsu. This effort resulted in the development of several improved-technology items in control systems and computers, as well as more efficient generators and larger transformers.
By the late 1970s, Fuji had greatly strengthened its position as a leader in industrial electronics and had forged a close relationship with Fujitsu, which had emerged as Japan's leading computer software developer. Fuji made a major commitment to technology in 1980 when it established a special corporate research and development subsidiary to concentrate attention on new technologies, previously developed by different divisions, in one place.
Growth Continues: 1980s
Fuji became involved in numerous foreign turnkey projects, many of them power plants. During 1980 and 1981, Fuji completed a geothermal power station and a 495-megawatt hydroelectric plant. Projects like these have given Fuji an international reputation for superior power-generating technology and engineering. This reputation for quality was established over many years, but was first achieved with smaller devices. Fuji's strength in this market continued into the 1980s and even led the company to expand its capacity by opening a ninth plant in Kobe in 1983.
By the late 1980s, the company was divided into five groups. The electric machinery group was responsible for plants and heavy machinery. The systems group covered instrumentation, information systems, and mechatronics, including robots and data processing equipment. The standard machinery and apparatus group manufactured programmable controllers, heavy motors, and magnetic devices. The electronics group produced large diodes, transistors and circuits, as well as computer components and measuring equipment. The vending machine and appliance group manufactured vending machines and large refrigerator display units like those found in grocery stores.
At the time, Fuji Electric was unique among Japanese electronics firms because it had no in-house computer development. Instead, it manufactured semiconductors, hard disks, and other components for its affiliate Fujitsu. Fuji Electric and Fujitsu maintained a substantial cross-ownership of stock.
Known for attracting some of the most talented engineers, and with hundreds of monuments to its accomplishments in Japan and abroad, Fuji Electric headed into the 1990s as a leading industrial electronics firm. Fuji was also in an excellent position, with its strong research organization, to develop leadership in new areas. The firm introduced a host of new products in 1990, including the 50kW on-site fuel cell, a general purpose inverter series that used 32-bit DSP, a slim 5.25-inch magneto-optical disk drive, and the Easy Access can vending machines.
Restructuring for the New Millennium
In order to prepare itself for its entrance into the new millennium, Fuji Electric launched its "New Vision 21 Plan" in 1991. This management strategy divided the firm into eight different business groups. In its new formation, the company continued to develop new products including new magnetic disks, advanced water treatments systems, ink jet heads, various controllers for control systems, levitation melting technologies, and power transistors for use in space.
Fuji Electric also established several new subsidiary companies, including Scotland-based Fuji Electric Ltd. in 1991. Three years later, the firm created Fuji Electric Dalian Co. Ltd., Fuji Electric Technology and Service Shenzhen Co. Ltd., and Suzhou Lanlian-Fuji Instruments Co. Ltd. The following year, Fuji/GE Taiwan Co. Ltd., P.T. Bukaka Fuji Electric, Fuji Electric Philippines Inc., Fuji Electric France S.A., and Fuji Electric Korea Co. Ltd. were established. The company continued to create new subsidiaries throughout the remainder of the 1990s throughout Asia and in Latin America. In 1999, Fuji Electric Imaging Device Co. Ltd. and Fuji Electric Storage Device Co. Ltd. were launched. That year the company also partnered with Hitachi Ltd. to form Fuji Hitachi Semiconductor Co.
Meanwhile, Fuji Electric's financial performance began to falter during this time period due to a weakening economy and fierce competition. The company's sales dropped off and in fiscal 1999, the company reported a net loss of ¥17.4 billion. That year the firm adopted a new company structure and also began to utilize an executive officer system. Under this new plan, Fuji Electric's operations fell into four operating segments including Energy & Electric Systems, Electronics, ED&C Drive Systems, and Retail Support Equipment & Systems. Company headquarters were moved to Gate City Ohsaki.
In June 2000, Fuji Electric announced the formation of its "S21 Plan," which focused on satisfaction, speed, and sensibility. Under this plan, management looked to expansion in product areas related to the environment, information systems, services, and components. The company also eyed corporate alliances and constant restructuring as key to future success. In fiscal 2001, Fuji Electric returned to profitability for the first time in three years.
Several new companies were launched during this time period, including Japan Motor & Generator Co. Ltd., a joint venture between Fuji Electric, Hitachi Ltd., and Meidensha Corporation. The company also merged certain subsidiaries together to create Fuji Electric Power Engineering & Service Co. Ltd. and Fuji FKE Co. Ltd. In 2001, Fuji Semiconductor Inc. and Fuji Electric Systems Co. Ltd. were also established. In early 2002, Fuji Electric set plans in motion to purchase Sanyo Electric Co.'s vending machine business.
Even as Fuji Electric's operating environment remained challenging, company management was confident that the firm would prosper as a leading electronics concern in Japan. Focused on implementing the business strategies in its S21 Plan, Fuji Electric appeared to be on the right track for future growth and profits.
Principal Subsidiaries: Fuji Electric Construction Co., Ltd.; Fuji Denki Sosetsu Co., Ltd.; FFC Limited Development; Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd.; Tochigi Fuji Co., Ltd.; Azumi Fuji Company; Fuji FKE Co., Ltd; Fuji Electric Excel Co., Ltd.; Fuji Gas Turbine Research; Center Co., Ltd.; Service Co., Ltd.; Fuji IT Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Instruments Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Chiba Tech. Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Technica Co., Ltd.; Chichibu Fuji Co., Ltd.; Fuji Denki Seiki Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Motor Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Hi-Tech Corp.; Fuji/GE Private Ltd.; Fuji/GE Taiwan Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Dalian Co., Ltd.; Ibaraki Fuji Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric F-Tech Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Storage Device Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.; Fuji Electric Imaging Device Co., Ltd.; U.S. Fuji Electric Inc.; Hong Kong Fujidenki Co., Ltd.; Hokuriku Fuji Co., Ltd.; Iiyama Fuji Co., Ltd.; Omachi Fuji Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Philippines, Inc.; Fuji Electric (Scotland) Ltd.; Fuji Electric Taiwan Co., Ltd.; Fuji Denki Reiki Co., Ltd.; Fuji Denki Reiki Seizo Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric V&C Altec Co., Ltd.; Shinshu-Fujidenki Co., Ltd.; Fuji Logistics Co., Ltd.; Fuji Life Corp.; Asahi Keiki Co., Ltd.; Fuji Almacs Co., Ltd.; Fuji ElC Co., Ltd.; Tokai Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Kansai Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Hoei Denki Co., Ltd.; Chubu Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Kyushu Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Hokkaido Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Tohoku Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Chugoku Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Shikoku Fuji Electric Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric GmbH; Fuji Electric (Asia) Co., Ltd.; Fuji Electric Corporation of America; Fuji Electric Singapore Private Ltd.
Principal Competitors: Hitachi Ltd.; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.; Toshiba Corporation.
- Key Dates:
- 1923: Fuji Electric is founded as a joint venture between Furukawa Electric and Siemens.
- 1935: The company spins off its telephone division.
- 1945: Fuji Electric is placed under government custody after the war.
- 1956: The firm joins the Daiichi Atomic Power Industry Group.
- 1964: The Central Research Laboratory is established.
- 1974: The company's eighth factory is established.
- 1980: A subsidiary is created to focus on research and development in new technologies.
- 1991: The company reorganizes itself into eight business segments as part of the "New Vision 21 Plan."
- 1999: Fuji Electric restructures into four main divisions.
- 2000: The firm returns to profitability after three years of losses.
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