Kobe Steel to Increase Titanium Production Capacity

Kobe Steel, Ltd. plans to invest a total of roughly 5 billion yen in four projects to upgrade and expand its titanium production facilities.

Kobe Steel will construct a new titanium melting shop at its Takasago Works in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan to be completed in January 2008. It will also upgrade the counterblow hammer for closed die forging at Takasago and construct a new welded tube line at group company Kobe Special Tube Co., Ltd. in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Both projects are scheduled for completion in May 2007. Completed last month was an expansion of the continuous annealing-pickling line for titanium sheet at Kakogawa Works in Hyogo Prefecture.

The projects will increase the integrated production capacity of titanium mill products, enabling Kobe Steel to manufacture more titanium alloy forgings for next-generation aircraft engines and meet the growing demand in China and the Middle East for pure titanium products used in infrastructure projects. The capital investments cover Kobe Steel's titanium production facilities at all locations including Takasago Works, Kakogawa Works and Kobe Special Tube. Under its Fiscal 2006-2008 Medium-Term Business Plan, Kobe Steel is aiming to increase sales and add further value to its "Only One" upper-end products.

Japan's titanium industry has been undergoing strong growth in recent years, and production and shipments of titanium mill products are anticipated to be robust in fiscal year 2006, ending in March 2007. In addition to Japanese manufacturers, this trend is similar worldwide. Bolstered by rising aircraft orders and growing demand from the energy industries, demand for titanium products is brisk.

Kobe Steel pioneered Japan's titanium industry when in 1949 it became the first company to begin research and development of this material. With over a half century of experience, Kobe Steel is Japan's only integrated producer of titanium mill products with operations ranging from melting to mill product manufacturing. The company contributes to the development of industry by supplying a wide variety of titanium mill products.

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