Nikon Precision was established in 1917 when two leading optical manufacturers merged to form an integrated optical company known as Nippon Kogaku K.K. For more than 60 years, the company has become one of the leading manufacturers of optical lenses and precision equipment used in cameras, binoculars, microscopes and inspection equipment. By 1980, the first stepper, the NSR-1010G, was produced in Japan. Since then, Nikon has introduced more than 50 models of stepper/scanners for the production of semiconductors and liquid crystal displays. In 1982, Nikon Precision was established in the United States to sell and service Nikon stepper equipment. In 1990, NPI opened its Belmont, Calif., headquarters. The facility includes corporate offices, an equipped training center and extensive applications, technology, service, sales and marketing departments. The company is privately owned and employs nearly 250 people.