Kobelco Spring Wire (Foshan) Co Ltd (KSW), a subsidiary of Japan’s Kobe Steel, has started its operations in the Chinese city of Foshan.
It began producing steel wire for high-quality springs in February, the parent company announced on Thursday March 14, and will commence commercial production once it obtains approval from its customers.
The plant has a designed production capacity of 600 tpm.
Booming demand in China led Kobe Steel to form KSW. China’s now is the world’s largest auto market, and international automakers are also expanding their production bases in the country.
“To meet this demand, the world’s major spring manufacturers have been actively adding new production lines and increasing their capacity to make engine valve springs and other high-quality springs.
“This, in turn, has increased demand for high-quality steel wire, the material from which the springs are made,” Kobe Steel said.
It forecasts that China’s auto production will reach 28 million units in 2020, compared with 19 million units in 2012.
Set up in January 2012, KSW is Kobe Steel’s first overseas company that processes wire rod into wire for use in engine valve springs and other high-quality spring products.
Kobe Steel has about 50% share of the global market for steel wire rod used in engine valve springs.
The company has three other joint ventures in China that process steel wire rod for suspension springs and cold heading quality wire rod for fasteners – one plant in Guangdong province’s Foshan city, one in Jiangsu’s Jiangyin city and another in Zhejiang’s Pinghu city.