Toho Titanium Mulls to Widen Sponge Titanium Expansion

Toho Titanium considers additional sponge titanium expansion by fiscal 2011 ending March 2012 after the 5% or annual 700 tonnes expansion for the first phase. The firm decided to increase the output more and earlier than current target of 22,000 tonnes in fiscal 2011 to keep the competitiveness when the competitors try to expand the output capacity to meet growing demand for airplane and industrial applications. The firm announced in November 2005 the firm increases the sponge titanium output by 47% to 22,000 tonnes and the titanium ingot by 78% to 16,000 tonnes by the end of fiscal 2007 from current 15,000 tonnes and 9,000 tonnes respectively. The firm revised the ingot expansion upward to 10,000 tonnes. The firm is working to build new electron beam furnace in Nippon Steel’s Yawata works in Fukuoka. The melting capacity will increase to 19,000 tonnes including vacuum arc remelting furnace in Chigasaki plant in Kanagawa and electron beam furnace at Nippon Mining & Metals’ Hitachi plant in Ibaraki. Toho Titanium decided to increase the sponge titanium output by around 5% or 700 tonnes to 15,000 tonnes as the first phase. The firm tried to expand the melting capacity at first to meet ingot demand from domestic rolled titanium makers under the tight supply. However, sponge titanium supply is also very tight under surging demand for airplane and industrial applications world wide. The world suppliers expand the output in USA, Kazakhstan, Russia and China while Sumitomo Titanium increases the capacity to annual 24,000 tonnes in fiscal 2006. The suppliers of high grade titanium for airplane are limited to makers in USA and Kazakhstan along with Toho Titanium and Sumitomo Titanium due to the severe quality demand. Toho Titanium tries to maintain the international competitiveness by grading up the expansion plan for the second phase and by revising the expansion schedule and volume.