Kobe Steel to increase production equipment for automotive aluminum panel material at Moka Plant in Japan

May 10, 2017

Kobe Steel, Ltd.

TOKYO, May 10, 2017 — Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that it plans to increase the heat treatment equipment and surface treatment equipment at its Moka Plant in Moka, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan to meet growing demand for automotive aluminum panel material in Japan.

Total investment is projected to reach approximately 20 billion yen, and construction is anticipated to begin within the current fiscal year (ending March 2018). The new equipment, to have a capacity of 100,000 tons per year, is expected to start up in January 2020.

As environmental regulations become stricter worldwide, the need to reduce the weight of car bodies is increasing and consequently demand for aluminum panel material is projected to grow considerably. Kobe Steel estimates that current demand in Japan and other Asian markets, excluding China, of approximately 40,000 tons per year will increase to over 300,000 tons in 2025.

Anticipating the growing demand for aluminum panel material, Kobe Steel has been undertaking technology development since the 1980s in such areas as materials development, analysis, design, forming and joining. Kobe Steel offers total solutions utilizing those technologies. It has received high acclaim from Japanese automakers and other manufacturers and is the top supplier of aluminum panel material in the Japanese market. In China, Kobe Steel established Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) Co., Ltd. to produce aluminum panel material. Operations commenced in January 2016.

These investments will help Kobe Steel meet future customer requirements by building a stable supply structure for high-quality aluminum panel material in the Asian market, including Japan and China.

Outline of Capital Investment

Investment amount:
About 20 billion yen
Heat treatment equipment and surface treatment equipment
100,000 tons per year
January 2020 (planned)

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