NKK CORPORATION: Annual Report 1998
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LSIs

      Advances in semiconductor technology have sparked greater demand for LSIs (largescale integrated circuits) that incorporate increasingly complex functions on a single chip. NKK has long been involved in microprocessor development, and it will be concentrating its resources in the "system LSI" field, where it enjoys strong technology advantages.

      NKK began to license MIPS architecture in 1991 and it has steadily established itself as one of the major players in this industry. In the future, NKK will be further expanding its market with ASSPs (application-specific standard products) and custom ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). NKK's chips are used in printers, office equipment, consumer electronics, and network devices.

      In Japan, NKK's MIPS-architecture RISC (reduced instruction set computer) microprocessors are found in high-end color printers, high-speed monochrome laser printers, and multifunction peripherals. In the United States, they are used in such key Internet equipment as routers, intelligent hubs, and set-top boxes.

      NKK enjoys a strategic alliance with Toshiba Corporation for products with microprocessor cores, and will be developing its chips in line with the "road map" laid out by Toshiba for the TX3900 and other members of the TX series of MIPS-architecture chips.

      In chip sets, the company is building on its successful "ND4700" and "ND5000" to develop a new "ND7000" set that will support a wider variety of MIPS microprocessors and will feature new bus standards and a higher-speed memory controller.

      In the fast-growing network devices field, NKK has developed a high-speed Ethernet switching IC called the "N3P2020." The company sees potential for expansion in this market from custom development of chips for high-speed Ethernet applications, hubs, and network interface cards. In the consumer electronics field, it is also collaborating with Macronix International Co., Ltd. to develop system LSIs with embedded flash memories and other innovative features.


 

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NKK system LSIs

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Information Technology

      NKK works in close partnership with NK-EXA Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary, to develop sophisticated information systems that satisfy a wide range of customer requirements.

      Design Spinnaker is an integrated three-dimensional CAD/CAM/computer graphics software product that was developed by NKK and is marketed by NK-EXA. It is known for its excellent functionality, ease of use, and fast learning curve. Based on an original solid-surface hybrid modeler, Design Spinnaker enables easy drawing of complex curved surfaces.

      The system contains a number of functions to link three-dimensional modeling and drawing creation, and these functions have been particularly attractive to designers and mold-makers. By integrating the CAD and CAM systems, Design Spinnaker simultaneously achieves the two hallmarks of Japanese-style manufacturing: "building quality into products" and "building products efficiently." It has proved particularly popular in the consumer electronics sector.

      Another innovation in the package is its automatic tool path creation function that can be used right from the prototyping and design stages and enables even beginners to create NC data of consistently high quality. Meanwhile, photorealistic computer graphics functions produce mock-ups that are as beautiful as they are accurate. Recently, these functions have been used for a wide range of optical simulations. Another notable Design Spinnaker concept is "Concurrent Marketing," a feature that enables interactive communication with consumers prior to actual fabrication. Naturally, the software comes with standard interfaces to other CAD and CAE packages as well as a wide selection of direct interfaces, making it the first choice of users who require a broad range of data compatibility.

      In the high-performance technical computing area, NKK works in partnership with Hewlett-Packard Japan. Ltd. to sell and market the "Exemplar Technical Server V-Class." Exemplar is highly regarded by ad-vanced scientific and technology laboratories at universities and research institutes. NKK has, for example, delivered 52 CPUs to the mainframe computing center at a national university in Japan. It also sells "ARENE," a digital transient network analyzer for electric power systems developed by Electricité de France to domestic power companies.

 

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HP Exemplar technical server

photo Photo-realistic graphics created by Design Spinnaker
(courtesy Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.)

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Urban Development

      The Urban Development Division oversees redevelopment and management of land owned by NKK. Results were particularly good in fiscal 1998 from housing and leisure projects. NKK continued to design, construct, and successfully market quality condominium complexes with special emphasis on first-time buyers.

      The company also maintained its strong position in the leisure facility market. "Wild Blue Yokohama," one of the world's largest indoor water parks, has become a popular urban attraction for people in the Tokyo-Yokohama area.


 

photo Wild Blue Yokohama indoor water park

photo Yokohama Tokiwa Koen Hills
(NKK condominium development project)


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