Two Japanese companies, namely Kito Corporation and Endo Kogyo Co. Ltd., told me whilst researching an article on their part of the world that business is booming, with the economy on the crest of a wave following the previous economic boom, which burst in 1991, as Toshiyuki Noji, senior manager, business strategy department at Kito Corporation, explained.

The downsizing of the industry was due primarily to a prolonged depression caused by substantial reductions in public-sector projects and the move by companies to relocate production bases to outside Japan.

In 2003, the industry was buoyed by renewed demand from the export sector, especially the auto industry, which enjoyed growing demand from overseas, as well as from the automotive and IT industries for additional capital investments.

“The hoist industry has continued its expansion year after year until the last fiscal year,” adds Noji.

Endo Kogyo Co. Ltd. said its hoist business is increasing in line with the upturn of the domestic economy and added that there has been a notable upsurge since this time last year.

Noji highlights significant increase in orders placed by the traditional heavy manufacturing sectors (primary materials industries such as iron and steel, shipbuilding, construction machinery) which, until recently, curtailed capital investments.

“Growth in orders from these sectors more than offset a decline in orders from the auto industry, which drove expansion from 2003 but whose needs for capital investment have been satisfied more or less by now,” Noji explains.

In terms of individual product segments, the manual hoist category (including lever hoists) enjoyed an increase of about 15% on a year on year basis, while the electric chain hoist category and the rope hoist category both grew almost 20% from the previous year, according to Kito.

As for manual and electric hoists, Noji continues, “whose demand has grown steadily for four consecutive years, we believe demand for new equipment by basic materials, steel and shipbuilding industries will remain strong,” and on top of that, he envisages growth in replacement demand from these sectors during fiscal year 2007, at the same level or slightly above that of 2006.

Endo Kogyo, meanwhile, says small capacity air hoists, particularly the AT series equipping small chain, are in highest demand from a variety of end user markets.

Inevitably, China’s development “has contributed to the growth of air hoist business,” it concludes.

The complete interviews will be part of my Japanese market focus article in an upcoming issue.

How’s business where you are?

Keep in touch,

Richard Howes, Editor