By Dr. Cameron Chai
Kobe Steel has intentions of making capital investments of about 36 billion yen in order to increase the hot-metal treatment capacity at its Kobe and Kakogawa Works and the steel plate heat treatment capacity at the Kakogawa Works to ensure that the competitiveness of the steel facilities of the company is enhanced.
It is expected that these investments will assist the Iron & Steel segment of Kobe Steel in improving the sales of its high-end range, “Only One” to include segment sales of 50% by the financial year, 2015. Sophisticated steel products, which include steel cord, bearing steel and automotive high-strength steel need utmost cleanliness when compared to the steel used for general purposes. In order to minimize the phosphorus and sulfur amount in molten iron, hot-metal treatment is essential. It is planned to build the hot-metal treatment plant between the pig iron-manufacturing blast furnace and the oxygen furnace plant that converts iron into steel. Kobe Steel plans to improve the sales of the steel plates in the future that are used in the energy industry.
Steel plate is used in pressure vessels, tanks and line pipes. It is important to dephosphorize and desulfurize the steel for these applications. The steel has to undergo heat treatment after rolling. The installation of a heat treatment furnace will be done in the Kakogawa Works after the plate mill.
By enhancing the efficiency of the reaction during dephosphorization and desulfurization, the quantity of lime and other supplementary materials is considerably reduced and the yield is enhanced. Since low-grade raw materials comprising increased quantities of phosphorus and sulfur can be used in bulk, it will be possible for the steel works to save not less than 10 billion yen annually.