Maxell, Ltd.
Native name
マクセル株式会社
Makuseru Kabushiki-gaisha
Formerly
  • Hitachi Maxell, Ltd.
  • Maxell Electric Co., Ltd.
TypePublic KK
TYO: 6810
IndustryElectronics
FoundedSeptember 3, 1960; 62 years ago (1960-09-03)
Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Headquarters
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Yoshiharu Katsuta
(President and CEO)
Products
RevenueDecrease ¥135.1 billion (2016)
Increase ¥5.7 billion (2016)
OwnerHitachi (3.01%)
Number of employees
3,966 (2016)
Websitewww.maxell.co.jp
Footnotes / references
[1][2][3]

Maxell, Ltd. (マクセル株式会社, Makuseru Kabushiki-gaisha), commonly known as Maxell, is a Japanese company that manufactures consumer electronics.

The company's name is a contraction of "Maximum capacity dry cell". Its main products are batteries, wireless charging products, storage devices, LCD/laser projectors, and functional materials.[4][5] In the past, the company manufactured recording media, including audio cassettes and blank VHS tapes, floppy disks,[6][7] and recordable optical discs including CD-R/RW and DVD±RW.

On March 4, 2008, Maxell announced that they would outsource the manufacturing of their optical media.[8]

History

Maxell was formed in 1960, when a dry cell manufacturing plant was created at the company's headquarters in Ibaraki, Osaka. In 1961, Maxell Electric Industrial Company, Limited was created out of the dry battery and magnetic tape divisions of Nitto Electric Industrial Company, Limited (now Nitto Denko Corporation).

On March 18, 2014, the company was listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.[9] In 2013, Maxell, Ltd. acquired Hitachi Consumer Electronics, Co., Ltd.’s projector design, development and manufacturing assets and resources. On October 1, 2019, Maxell Corporation of America announced it would assume responsibility for all operations related to both Hitachi- brand and Maxell-brand projector products and accessories in the North American market.

Products

Batteries

Maxell, along with Nagasaki University, NIAIST, and Subaru Corporation (the parent company of Subaru, makers of the R1e electric car), has developed a new chemistry for lithium-ion batteries. Part of the change is dropping the expensive cobalt element and using "nano infused lithium" with manganese, with twenty times more power storage, and the ability to mass-produce it inexpensively.[10]

Audio cassettes

Maxell XL II compact cassette
Maxell XL II compact cassette

During the height of the Compact Audio Cassette's popularity, Maxell's audio cassettes were held in high regard, producing some of the finest examples of the standard available. The performance of the XLII-S (CrO2) and MX (pure metal particles) cassettes was highly regarded in the pre-digital domestic recording medium.

Until the beginning of 2020, Maxell still produced UR ferric-oxide-based cassettes for the international market. Maxell has since stopped distributing their UR cassettes outside of Japan.[citation needed]

Maxell audio cassettes were available in 46, 60, 90, 100, 120 and 150 minute lengths. Currently, depending on region, they are available in 10, 20, 30, 40, 46, 50, 54, 60, 64, 70, 74, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120 and 150 minute lengths.

Optical storages

Maxell DVD-R
Maxell DVD-R

Since November 2006 the Taiwanese Ritek corporation became exclusive producer of Maxell CD-Rs and DVDs.[11]

LCD and laser projectors

Maxell now assumes responsibility for all Hitachi-brand and Maxell-brand LCD projectors and laser projectors, as well as the Lecture Capture Collaboration Station.[12] Maxell projectors are available in a range of lumens, resolutions, sizes, and colors for classrooms, conference rooms, houses of worship, and venues.

Advertising

Maxell "Blown Away Guy" advertisement for cassette tapes.
Maxell "Blown Away Guy" advertisement for cassette tapes.

In the 1980s, Maxell became an icon of pop culture when it produced advertisements popularly known as "Blown Away Guy" for its line of audio cassettes. The campaign began as a two-page advertising spread in Rolling Stone magazine in 1980. The photo shows a man sitting low in a (Le Corbusier Grand Confort LC2[13]) high armed chair (on the right side of the screen) in front of, and facing, a JBL L100 speaker (the left side of the screen). His hair and necktie, along with the lampshade to the man's right and the martini glass on the low table to the man's left, are being blown back by the tremendous sound from speakers in front of him—supposedly due to the audio accuracy of Maxell's product. The man is shown desperately clinging to the armrests but defiantly looking ahead at the source of the music through sunglasses, though calmly catching his drink before it slides off the end table.

The ad campaign was conceived by Art Director Lars Anderson. Steve Steigman was the photographer. Steigman wanted a male model with long hair in order to show the effect of the wind, but when such a model could not be found on the day of the shoot, they used the makeup artist who was hired for the shoot, Jac Colello.[14]

The same concept was used for television spots in 1981 which ran throughout the 1980s. These commercials showed nearly the same image as the print ad, but with the chair, a drink and nearby lamp all being pushed away from the stereo by the strong force of the sound waves.[15] Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" was used for music. A separate ad was filmed for the United Kingdom, with musician Peter Murphy of the group Bauhaus as the man in the chair, and "Night on Bald Mountain" by Modest Mussorgsky as the music.

The "blown away guy" image became quite popular, and has been copied and parodied numerous times, including in the 1992 John Ritter film Stay Tuned (where a character's head is blown off by a "Max-Hell" tape), in the 2005 episode "Model Misbehavior"[16] of animated sitcom Family Guy, and in the 2010 movie Jackass 3D, where Ryan Dunn sits in a chair while the blast from a jet engine sends the set blowing away.

In 2005, Maxell revived the "Blown Away Guy" ad campaign. As Maxell now made blank DVDs and CDs, headphones, speakers, and blank audio and video tape, the ads were updated with photos of iPods and accessories underneath the image. "Get blown away" was the headline, while the copy urged consumers to use Maxell accessories to "make your small iPod sound like a huge audio system".

See also

References

  1. ^ "Corporate Data" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 15, 2017. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "Corporate Profile". Google Finance. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  3. ^ "Hitachi Maxell To List On Tokyo Bourse In $750M IPO". The Wall Street Journal. February 14, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  4. ^ "Company Profile". Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  5. ^ "Maxell USA website".
  6. ^ (alphabetically)Peter H. Lewis (December 15, 1987). "Holiday Hardware". The New York Times. Fuji, Maxell, Polaroid, Sony, 3M and Verbatim
  7. ^ Peter H. Lewis (July 10, 1988). "Difficulties in Choosing Diskettes". The New York Times. 3M, Sony, Maxell, Polaroid, Fuji and BASF
  8. ^ "Maxell to no longer manufacture discs blow customers away". March 4, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  9. ^ "Hitachi Maxell Announces Listing on First Section of Tokyo Stock Exchange" (PDF). March 18, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 23, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  10. ^ Hitachi Maxell Claims Huge Lithium-Ion Battery Breakthrough. Too Good to be True? : TreeHugger
  11. ^ "14 November 2006, Ritek to Become Exclusive ODM Maker for Hitachi Maxell". November 14, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  12. ^ "14 Februar 2019, ISE 2019: Warum nun Maxell steht, wo zuvor Hitachi stand". February 14, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2020.
  13. ^ Colman, David (30 May 2004). "POSSESSED; Designer, Recumbent". New York Times. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  14. ^ Elliot, Stuart (July 5, 2006). "The 'Blow-Away Guy' Rides Again". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  15. ^ 1980s Maxell Tape Commercial on YouTube
  16. ^ Family Guy nod to the 80s Maxell advert on YouTube