Based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA, KAAP began construction of a $66-million expansion of its manufacturing facility in spring 2013. Construction was completed earlier this month and the new facility has gone into mass production. KAAP’s production capacity of 280,000 pieces per month has increased to 420,000 pieces per month.

This expansion, together with Kobe Steel’s other manufacturing locations in Japan and China, gives the Kobe Steel Group a combined production capacity of 1 million pieces per month of aluminium forged suspension parts.

Car production in the United States, the world’s second largest market, grew in 2013 to over 16 million units. In 2020, car production is anticipated to increase to approximately 18 million units. Due to stricter Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards in 2025, the need for lighter vehicle bodies is accelerating, and demand for aluminium suspensions is rapidly growing.

A joint venture of Kobe Steel, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, KAAP is the top North American manufacturer of aluminium forged parts for automotive suspensions. In addition to Japanese automakers, KAAP has supplied forgings to many U.S. and European automakers in North America, receiving high marks for its quality products. As KAAP’s four mechanical forging presses had reached full operation, the company increased its production capacity to meet growing future demand. This capacity expansion consisted of the installation of a melting/casting line and two 6,300-ton forging presses. A 150,000 square-foot extension was constructed next to the existing plant to house the new equipment.