LONDON Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (NSSMC) has announced production optimization plans at its Japanese plants to increase its competitiveness amid expectations of steady domestic demand.
The midterm management plan also comes as the company expects new steel works in China and Southeast Asia to go on-stream by 2015, the company said.
Rationalization at NSSMC will focus on blast furnaces as well as steelmaking and rolling equipment in fiscal years 2014-16, the company said.
The Kimitsu plant near Chiba will operate with two blast furnaces after it takes down its No. 3 blast furnace at the end of fiscal 2015. Kimitsus three blast furnaces have a combined capacity of 13.9 million tonnes of pig iron per year.
The Kimitsu Works also plans to streamline its No. 1 steel shop by shutting down its No. 5 continuous caster in early fiscal 2014 and shifting to operating a single basic oxygen furnace in fiscal 2016. The No. 1 shop has three 220-tonne basic electric-arc furnaces, which contribute to Kimitsus total annual capacity of 10.3 million tonnes of crude steel.
NSSMCs Wakayama Works is postponing the operation of its new No. 2 blast furnace, but it will leave the No. 1 and No. 5 blast furnaces in operation, the company said.
Work is also under way to either shut down or scale back production on flat-rolling lines in fiscal 2013 and 2014 at the Kashima, Kimitsu, Nagoya and Wakayama plants, NSSMC said. Most of the lines that will be shut down or scaled back are those producing value-added products, such as cold strip mills, pickling lines, annealing lines and hot-dipped and electrolytic galvanizing lines.
The Kashima and Kimitsu plants also plan to scale back plate rolling by the second quarter of fiscal 2013, NSSMC said.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.