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Horiba to up air pollution monitor output to meet Chinese demand

KYOTO -- Precision instrument manufacturer Horiba is adding a building at its Biwako factory for the production of environmental equipment, mainly devices to measure and analyze the release of exhaust gases and other contaminants, to meet growing demand from emerging economies that combat air pollution.

   The new 5 billion yen ($48 million) facility will stand 10 stories high and encompass roughly 28,400 sq. meters of floor space for development, testing and production. The products made there will include instruments for measuring flue gases and monitoring air-clogging particulate matter.

   The Biwako plant in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, currently operates with only several dozen workers. Horiba intends to sharply increase the staff to between 500 and 600 as it shifts production of environmental-related instruments from its main factory in the neighboring city of Kyoto.

   The new building will have an integrated production line, enabling Horiba to take over processes that have been outsourced. This will reduce inefficiencies and improve its cost competitiveness as it battles rivals from the West and China to win more business in expanding emerging markets.

   The company will begin constructing the facility in mid-February and expects to begin operations there in May 2015.

   The Japanese firm has developed a new analyzer for PM2.5 pollutants in collaboration with China's Tsinghua University as part of efforts to expand overseas operations using its environment-monitoring technologies.


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