September 19, 2019
Kobe Steel, Ltd.
TOKYO, September 19, 2019 — Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that its U.S. subsidiary, Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. (or KPEX) held an opening ceremony on September 18 (U.S. time). Established in April 2016 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, KPEX manufactures and sells aluminum extrusions and fabricated products in the United States.
The ceremony was attended by Commissioner Erran Persley of Kentucky's Department of Business Development, Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon, Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, and Consul-General Hiroyuki Kobayashi of the Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville. Approximately 50 people, including customers and business partners, participated in the event.
Representing Kobe Steel at the ceremony was Yukimasa Miyashita, senior managing executive officer and head of the Aluminum & Copper Business. “We're growing our business and enhancing our presence as a manufacturer of aluminum extruded parts for cars," said Miyashita. “In this way, we continue to meet the need for lighter cars that meet fuel efficiency regulations and stronger collision safety regulations in North America," he said.
In the North American automotive market, the need for light-weight and high-strength materials is accelerating on the back of more stringent collision safety regulations and environmental regulations. Anticipating the growing demand for car bumper materials and body frame materials in light of this trend, Kobe Steel established KPEX in April 2016. Integrated production at KPEX, from melting and casting to final processing, began in November 2018. Looking ahead to greater demand, KPEX decided to increase the production capacity of all production processes.
KPEX will add an additional melting furnace and extrusion press. After the expansion is completed, KPEX will have two melting furnaces and two extrusion presses. Production capacity will increase to 1,000 tons per month, from the current 500 tons per month. Plans call for mass production using the new equipment to begin in 2021.
In North America, the Kobe Steel Group has been creating a supply system for its products used in the automotive sector. Kobe Steel formed PRO-TEC Coating Company, a joint venture with United States Steel Corporation, in 1990 to produce automotive high-strength steel. In 2003, Kobe Steel established Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC to manufacture and sell aluminum forgings for automotive suspension systems.
The Kobe Steel Group contributes to reducing CO2 emissions by supplying aluminum parts and high-strength steel to lighten vehicles and reduce fuel consumption.
Kobe Steel, Ltd. is a diversified corporation with businesses in the three core areas of materials, machinery and electric power. The materials businesses cover steel, welding, aluminum and copper. The machinery businesses consist of industrial machinery, construction machinery and engineering. Electric power supply is the third core business. Kobe Steel has head offices in Kobe and Tokyo, Japan. The Kobe Steel Group, consisting of Kobe Steel and its numerous subsidiaries and affiliates, has over 39,000 employees.
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Ribbon cutting ceremony at KPEX: Fourth from left is Kobe Steel Senior Managing Executive Officer Yukimasa Miyashita. Sixth from left is KPEX President Hitoshi Arimura.
Kobe Steel Senior Managing Executive Officer Yukimasa Miyashita: Giving congratulatory remarks at KPEX's opening ceremony
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