An interview with Keith (Koichiro) Nishikawa, the North American distributor of Takaya.

Keith (Koichiro) Nishikawa has been president of TexMac Inc., based in Charlotte, NC, for about a year. TexMac is exclusive authorized distributor of Takaya flying probe test systems in North America. But the Takaya story actually begins in 19th Century Japan.

“Takaya Corp. is a multiple market company formed to serve a combination of apparel and electronics business fields,” Nishikawa says. “Takaya was founded initially to serve the textile business in 1864. It still manufactures and sells high-quality apparel in Japan. In 1966 a decision was made to enter the electronics industry, beginning with assembly of transistor radios. Today the company has EMS businesses in Japan, Thailand, and China.”

Takaya invented its first flying probe test system in 1984 to meet internal needs as a contract manufacturer for quickturn product by providing a fast, easy-to-use, and reliable fixtureless tester. In 1986, Takaya partnered with Itochu (TexMac’s parent company) to share this technology with electronics manufacturers worldwide.

Nishikawa joined Itochu in 1991. “Itochu is a multinational trading company. We partner with many companies in many industries to broaden markets to fulfill end-customer wants and needs,” Nishikawa says. His working experience is in sales of industrial machinery for export and import, and he has been stationed in the Philippines, Germany, and Singapore, as well as other locations.

In the time since Takaya began production of flying probe testers, the company has gained a great deal of PCB assembly experience, Nishikawa says. “Takaya understands the expectations and requirements of the flying probe tester end-user. In addition to flying probes, Takaya is also involved in HF RFID readers and writers, and provides system solutions for store security and logistic use. So, Takaya really is a multidisciplinary company,” he adds.

7 Generations and Counting

“It has been a long journey of Takaya flying probe testers since the 1980s to reach today’s 7th generation models,” Nishikawa continues. “New technology has been developed to offer higher accuracy, higher speed, and higher test coverage, as well as ease of programming and debugging.” Today, he says, Takaya testers offer a range of standard functional testing capability including power-up test, frequency measurement and signal generation. Optional features include LED color test (sensing), ISP and boundary scan. “Some Takaya models are still in operation after 25 years!” he adds.

Flying probe testers are a flexible alternative to bed-of-nails in-circuit test fixtures. Flying probe technology is suited for low- to medium-volume production in a high-mix environment. Due to its precision, flying probe testing is suited to testing assemblies with fine-pitch SMT devices, and, on occasion, serves as a process optimization tool, to find process-related defects that might escape fixture technology.

Takaya has regional headquarters for sales and technical service in Germany, China and Singapore. They, in turn, work with local representatives in more than 30 countries to meet customers’ global service requirements. Says Nishikawa, “For our North American customers, our domestic shipping source locations are either our Santa Clara, CA, or Charlotte stocking locations, not an overseas location. It’s part of our dedication to providing global reach, but local service and support.”

Looking Ahead

“I believe the future will see PCB assembly technology development continue to progress, along with component and pick-and-place machine development,” Nishikawa says. “Since Takaya uses both for its EMS business, new flying probe technology development will emerge simultaneously.”

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