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At crowded Mazak open house, an upbeat tone among buyers.

When officials at Mazak Corp. started planning their week-long open house, which ran at its northern-Kentucky headquarters earlier this month, they figured on hosting 1,500 people. After the acceptances came in, the number grew to 2,500. "Including a contingent of 80 customers from the Seattle area," observed VP Chuck Birkle.

And while it may be too soon to tell whether they came with checkbooks at the ready, the mood among the prospective customers seemed buoyant, almost defiant of the gloomy tone of recent economic news.
 "The economy will improve, Mazak Corp. president Brian Papke told his
 guests, "but that does not mean existing companies will automatically get
 more business. The work will flow to those companies that make the
 investment in new equipment."



Which was, of course, the reason for the convocation: To zero in on prospective customers and convince them to buy now.

Among the 30 new machines presented, stars of the event, dubbed "Touch The Future 2001," were clearly the new "e-machines" unveiled two months earlier at the EMO in Germany. They feature communications that integrate production-management functions like work scheduling, production, and machine-status monitoring. The machines, like the Integrex e-410H multifunction five-axis turning/machining center, are equipped with an e-Tower that houses the Mazatrol CNC. The "control tower" does production-control work but also does verbal messaging and provides camera monitoring of blind spots. It can also call you on your cell phone if somethig goes wrong.

Two years ago, during an off-year for both IMTS and JIMToF, parent Yamazaki Mazak Corp. (Oguchi, Japan) decided to celebrate its 80th anniversary by holding large-scale open houses at its Japanese headquarters and in America. The theme then was to invite attendees to envision what manufacturing technology would be like in 20 years (when the firm turns 100).

The original event apparently was a marketing success since it was repeated two years later. Even enlarged, with dinner for several hundred on some nights at the Cincinnati Convention Center (somewhat to the dismay of a few media people who witnessed potential advertising expenditures eaten up as canapes).

The event also proved to be a kind of coming-out party for Tomohisa Yamazaki, the well-credentialed new president and chief operating officer of Yamazaki Mazak. Six months back Tom took over the post from his father, Teruyuki (Terry) Yamazaki, who remains chairman of the board and CEO.

The new president pledged to differentiate his firm from competitors by strengthening the Mazak corporate brand image. He stressed total solutions for customers, support on a global basis, and innovative products like the e-machines.

Mazak Corp., Florence, Ky. 606-727-5700.
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Comment:At crowded Mazak open house, an upbeat tone among buyers.
Publication:Metalworking Insiders' Report
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Nov 28, 2001
Words:433
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