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CARROLLTON, TX-On Nov. 15, Hitachi America Ltd. will get the keys to a 72,000-sf headquarters and distribution center being built on nearly four acres in the Free Trade Zone of the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport.

The $25-million project, being built by the Crow family of Dallas, represents the US leg of a dual-pronged expansion being undertaken by Hitachi Ltd., parent company of the Carrollton operation. Yesterday in Kudamatsu, Japan, a ground-breaking occurred for a 100,000-sf electronic customer support center that will work in concert with the soon-to-be-relocated TX subsidiary. Stateside, the DFW building means a new North American headquarters and semiconductor equipment center for Hitachi America.

Upon completion, the two projects will link engineers, designers, sales, technicians and customers from their home locations. “We’re trying to maximize our senior technical staff without putting them on airplanes and flying them all over the world,” Craig Kerkove, Hitachi America’s general manager, tells GlobeSt.com.

The DFW building, being erected in the airport’s northeastern quadrant, has 10,000 sf dedicated to future demonstration space and manufacturing capabilities. Kerkove says at least 25 more people will be hired when the 60-member staff is fully moved into the new building. More jobs, he says, will be created when the demonstration section and manufacturing component come on line. A timeframe for those additions is not yet in place. Kerkove says Hitachi America also is investigating the opportunities of the refurbished computer market for another possible expansion. The new structure, which is being leased from the airport, can accommodate up to 230 employees, he says.

“Initially, we’re just focusing on taking our entire operation and just transferring it,” he tells GlobeSt.com. He estimates it will take three to four weeks to complete the relocation of the North American headquarters. Hitachi America has been in Carrollton for seven years and is now operating out of about 20,000 sf in two buildings situated about a half-mile apart.

Japan’s e-CS center and Texas’ Semiconductor Equipment Center will provide real-time communication between Hitachi’s overseas and stateside teams. Of the utmost importance is the real-time monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities that will be facilitated for customers of the firm’s high-tech 300mm etch systems, which cost $2 million to $4 million a piece, emphasizes Kerkove.

“The addition of this facility to our Semiconductor Equipment Group capabilities is in part due to the wide acceptance of our new 300mm etch systems,” Yoshinao Kawasaki, general manager of Hitachi Ltd. Semiconductor Equipment Product Division, says of the Japanese expansion. “This new center will allow us to double the number of available 300mm etch demonstration tools, network our analysis tools for automatically generating data and reports, and increase our manufacturing capabilities by 30%.

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