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Kobe division adding $11M cast aluminum bar line in Ky.

Keywords: Tags  Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, Kobe Steel, Toyota, cast aluminum bars, air conditioning compressor, Samuel Frizell

NEW YORK — Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC (KAAP) is constructing a production line to meet growing North American demand for cast aluminum bars, parent company Kobe Steel Ltd. said Nov. 21.

The line will supply Toyota Industries Compressor Parts America Co.’s new car air conditioning compressor parts plant in Pendergrass, Ga., which is expected to begin production in September 2013.

Bowling Green, Ky.-based KAAP will invest $11 million to add the new line, constructing a new 39,000-square-foot building adjacent to its existing facility that will hold a melting furnace, holding furnace, horizontal casting line, homogenizing furnace, roll straightener, and peeling and inspection line.

"KAAP’s new investment will help address the growing demand in North America for cast aluminum bars and demonstrates our commitment to supporting our customers globally," KAAP president Sam Koike said in a statement.

Kobe Steel already manufactures aluminum bars for air conditioning compressors at its Chofu Works in Shimonoseki, western Japan, which are supplied to Toyota Industries Corp.

Toyota Motor Corp. has expanded its automobile exports from the United States, with 130,000 U.S.-built autos expected to be exported by year-end, up 52 percent from 2011 (, Nov. 16).

"The demand here in North America has increased. The purpose (of the production line) is logistics and the efficiencies," a spokesman for the company told AMM.

The plant, set to open in August 2013, will have a production capacity of 4,000 tonnes per year.

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