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Kobe Steel licenses copper alloy for terminals and connectors to Germany's Wieland

November 19, 2012

TOKYO, November 19, 2012 - Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that it has licensed Germany's Wieland-Werke AG to produce and sell Kobe Steel's CACTM5 copper alloy for terminals and connectors.

The license agreement with Wieland enables Kobe Steel to establish a global supply network for copper alloys, especially for automotive applications. It also addresses the need for manufacturers to procure materials from multiple sources.

Kobe Steel had already licensed CACTM5 to Aurubis Buffalo Inc. in the United States in March 2008. The license to Wieland will now enable CACTM5 to be supplied worldwide from Asia, the United States and Europe. The arrangement with Wieland is not a first. Kobe Steel had previously provided Wieland with a license to make its SuperKFCTM series of copper alloys for semiconductor leadframes.

Kobe Steel developed CACTM5, a high-end product, in 2005 for use in automotive terminals and connections. CACTM5 is noted for its outstanding stress relaxation resistance and high strength. Kobe Steel is working to establish CACTM5 as a next-generation world standard.

While CACTM5's chemical composition is Cu-Ni-Sn-P, it has about the same strength and bending formability as Cu-Ni-Si system alloys, which have many track records for use in small automotive terminals. CACTM5 is a low-cost copper alloy with outstanding stress relaxation resistance, which greatly contributes to reliability in terminals.

As automobiles become lighter and smaller and electrical components increase, terminals are becoming progressively smaller. With excellent stress relaxation resistance, high strength and low cost, Kobe Steel anticipates that CACTM5 will be increasingly used.

A major European producer of copper rolled products, Wieland is the top supplier of copper alloys for automotive terminals and connectors in Europe.

Profile of Wieland Group

1. Name:
Wieland Group
2. Location:
Ulm, Germany
3. Established:
4. Production:
About 30 locations
(Europe, China, Singapore, South Africa, United States)
5. Employees:
6,375 (2010/11)
6. Sales volume:
475,000 metric tons (2010/11)
7. Sales:
3,287 million euros (2010/11)
8. Main products:
Copper rolled products, copper tubes, extruded and drawn products

Kobe Steel's Copper Products Business

Kobe Steel produces copper rolled products at its Chofu Works in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan. The company specializes in copper strips for semiconductor leadframes and copper strips for automotive terminals and connectors. Kobe Steel estimates that it has high domestic market shares in both product areas. Chofu's production capacity of copper sheet and strip is approximately 5,500 metric tons per month. Over 70% of the alloys that Kobe Steel produces were developed by the company.

Kobe Steel has four production bases that make copper strips for the electronics industry: Shinko Leadmikk Co., Ltd. in Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture; Singapore Kobe Pte. Ltd. in Singapore; Suzhou Kobe Copper Technology Co., Ltd. in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China; and Kobe Electronics Material (Thailand) Co., Ltd. in Ayutthaya, Thailand.