Kobe Steel, Ltd., Kobe, Japan, has revealed plans to invest approximately 1.8 billion Japanese yen to increase the production capacity of its Steel Powder Plant in Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture, Western Japan. The company plans to increase steel powder production to 110,000 metric tons per year, from the current 96,000 metric tons per year, with manufacturing scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2021.
Kobe Steel’s steel powder is mainly used to make PM parts found in automotive engines and transmissions. In the steel powder field, Kobe Steel estimates that it has nearly 50% share of the Japanese market, making it the largest powder producer in Japan. With car production forecast to increase over the medium to long term, the company expects demand for steel powder to grow.
The planned expansion will include the installation of a new reduction furnace to enable higher treatment temperatures than the current furnaces. Kobe Steel will also install a new mixer to increase production capacity of its Segless range of powders. Once established, Segless powders will account for 60,000 tons per year, an increase from the current 40,000 tons per year.
Through this investment, Kobe Steel stated that it will be able to further provide a stable supply of steel powders to customers. At the same time, it will be able to better respond to its customers’ diverse needs using equipment that can produce high-performance steel powder products.