First Shipment Made from Hitachi Plant/80 Employees in Final Stages of Training

Article excerpt

Two trucks carrying large-capacity magnetic disk drive subsystems drove away from Hitachi Computer Products (America) Inc. in a ceremony commemorating the grand opening of the Norman plant Thursday morning.

While the disk drives were actually manufactured in Japan, the systems were tested at the 73,000-square-foot facility before they left the plant, destined for National Advance Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of National Semiconductor, in Mountain View, Calif.

Hitachi's 80 employees in Norman are in the final stages of a training program which will prepare them to begin building the disk drives themselves in Oklahoma in the next few days, according to Shiro Takemura, president of the Norman division of Hitachi America Ltd. The local plant, located on a 69-acre site at 1800 E. Imhoff Rd., is Hitachi's first major U.S. manufacturing facility.

Capital investment in Hitachi Computer Products of Norman is about $14 million to date, Takemura said.

Hitachi projects sales of $50 million in its first year of operation, ending March 31, 1988, and has a target of $200 million by 1991, he said.

In addition, the company has previously announced plans to double the plant's size in two to three years, a move expected to further boost sales potential.

"I hope the productivity of this plant will show Oklahomans can compete in this manufacturing area," Gov. Henry Bellmon told the estimated 200 guests gathered for the opening ceremony. "I hope it will be one of the most successful companies in the corporation."

Bellmon was quick to point out that he had been "out campaigning" when Hitachi had selected the Oklahoma site for its new plant.

He credited former Gov. George Nigh, former Lt. Gov. Spencer Bernard and Dr. Yoshi Sasaki, international economic advisor for the office of business and industrial cooperation at the University of Oklahoma, with attracting the new industry.

Besides producing the large-capacity disk drives, Hitachi's Norman plant also will provide service on its small disk drives for U. …