NKK CORPORATION: Annual Report 1998
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L SIs

We continued to develop advanced static random access memory (SRAMs) and microprocessors in the field of semiconductor devices. Our SRAM design and production technologies were favorably evaluated in this very competitive business.

In addition to expanding our large-scale integrated circuit (LSI) business base worldwide, we continued focusing on the establishment of a strong presence in the microprocessor industry based on MIPS architecture, which we have licensed since 1990.

Our reduced-instruction-set computer (RISC) microprocessor units (MPUs), including the NR4700, NR4650 and NR4645, were used domestically in high-end color printers and high-speed monochrome laser printers, and started to be used in Internet-related equipment such as routers, intelligent hubs and set-top boxes in the United States.

In addition to standard MIPS products, we expanded our markets for MPUs by marketing application-specific standard products (ASSPs) and customized integrated circuits for individual customer needs.

To bolster our ASSP and application-specific integrated-circuit (ASIC) design capabilities, we licensed MIPS-based R-3900 32-bit MPU core design technology from Toshiba. The technol-ogy's low power requirements and small die size will be especially helpful in expanding our consumer electronics market.

As part of becoming a full-service MPU vendor offering system solutions, we marketed our own MIPS system chip sets, the ND4700 and ND5000, as memory and peripheral component interconnect (PCI) bus controllers. We also developed the PR460L ASSP with an NR4645 MPU core, synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM) controller and PCI interface. In addition, development of advanced system controllers with universal serial bus and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) 1394 interfaces got under way.

We entered the fast-growing field of networking by marketing our first Ethernet switching IC, the NK-97020, and launched projects to develop a series of network ICs and system ASICs tailored to specific customer demands.

 

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NKK's microprocessors and memory devices

I nformation Technology

We expanded our information technology operations in close cooperation with NK-EXA Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary, to satisfy wide-ranging customer needs for sophisticated systems.

We focused on solutions for virtual product development by integrating digital data for design, analysis and manufacturing, the results of which help to upgrade engineering operations efficiency. We provided consultation and related services regarding the linking of computer-aided design (CAD) data and computer-aided engineering (CAE), as well as improving the running time and accuracy of numerical analysis applications, such as mechanical computer-aided engineering.

These capabilities are based on our numerical processing and parallelizing technology, and are supported by our extensive experience in developing and selling the Exemplar SPP (Scalable Parallel Processing) high-performance parallel computer with the former Convex Computer Corporation, which merged with Hewlett-Packard Co. in 1995. Working with HP Japan Ltd., we market and support the Exemplar Technical Server V-Class computer for high-performance computing in science and technology fields.

We continued to sell two software products that help users employ network-computing resources efficiently: Load Sharing Facility from Platform Computing Corporation, and Arene, a digital transfer network analyzer for electric power systems from Electricite de France.

We also continued marketing Design Spinnaker, our integrated three-dimensional CAD/CAM/computer graphics software product, which is used to upgrade manufacturing development processes from the upstream design stage, shorten the time to market and increase productivity with digitally based manufacturing. The program, which offers curved-surface processing based on our original solid-surface hybrid modeler, as well as excellent operability, is gaining increasing acceptance among users who require the capability to create high-quality, smooth complex shapes.

The individual modules of Design Spinnaker offer a number of attractive features:

The DS/Styling CAD module enables visual design through features such as a one-stroke writing function that uses automatic constraint-recognition to simplify the drawing of wire-frame shapes, and a quick surface function that creates complicated curved surfaces by recognizing and projecting the user's intentions.

The DS/CAM module establishes procedures and other parameters for delicate processing and creates automatic tool paths for trial manufacture and metallic mold processing. The system also features a warp CAM function for performing complex operations with just a single command, and an image feature machining function that generates tool paths from image mapping.

The DS/Computer Graphics module offers world-class near-photo computer graphics, as well as animation to compare models and a studio library function to verify appearances created with various backgrounds.

 

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HP Exemplar technical server

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Photo-realistic graphics created by Design Spinnaker, a trailblazer in virtual manufacturing

U rban Development

The Urban Development Division, which oversees redevelopment and management of land owned by NKK, had a good year managing assets used for housing and leisure facilities. We continued to design, construct and successfully market high-quality condominium complexes, particularly those for first-time buyers.

We also maintained our strong position in the leisure facility market. Our Wild Blue Yokohama, one of the world's largest indoor water parks, continued to be a popular urban attraction for people in the Tokyo-Yokohama area.

 

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An NKK condominium development project

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Interior of Wild Blue Yokohama indoor water park



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