Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (China) Co., Ltd. (or KAAP China) was established in September 2010 to produce and sell aluminium forgings for automotive suspensions in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. With production beginning in August 2012, KAAP China embarked on a second-phase expansion, which now enables integrated production from melting to forging.

Around 80 people attended the event held onsite at the company, which is a joint venture of Kobe Steel, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. Major attendees included:

Automobile manufacturing in China, the world’s largest auto market, is forecast to increase greatly to approximately 30 million cars in 2022, from around 19 million units in 2012. In China, fuel efficiency regulations are becoming stricter due to worsening environmental problems brought about by exhaust gas emissions. The need to build lighter cars is accelerating among Japanese, American and European automakers. As a result, demand for aluminium suspensions in China is rapidly increasing.

Against this background, KAAP China started up its first line, which consists of a forging press and heat treatment equipment, in August 2012. With demand continuing to grow, the company decided in December 2011 to further expand production capacity.

The second-phase investment included a melting furnace and casting line in the upstream operation, as well as an additional forging press and heat treatment equipment. The second line began mass production in April this year.

KAAP China’s integrated operations - consisting of a melting furnace, casting line, two forging presses, and two heat treatment lines - are currently in full-scale production.

KAAP China now has a production capacity to make 250,000 pieces of aluminium forgings per month.