Sumitomo Titanium to Expand Sponge Titanium Output

President Masaaki Tachibana of Sumitomo Titanium said the firm expands the sponge titanium output by building new plant next to existing headquarter plant under new 3-year plan starting April 2007. The firm builds production facilities with higher productivity associated by computer process control along with improved Kroll method. The firm plans to build new plant on around 30,000 square meters of land. Mr. Tachibana said the firm will establish production system with higher productivity than current facility. The firm will introduce computer process control system in reducing process to improve labor productivity and efficiency. The firm keeps studying the plan including production volume and time flame and announces it as soon as possible. The plan will be one of the main menus of new 3-year plan, which the firm will announce in February 2007. The firm also considers expansion of vacuum arc remelt furnace from current 4 furnaces to meet higher sponge titanium output when the firm operates the VAR furnaces at full capacity. The firm operates the sponge titanium production facilities at full capacity at annual 24,000 tonnes since April after the expansion by 2,000 tonnes in March and by 4,000 tonnes in September 2005. Worldwide titanium supply is very tight when the demand surges for airplane parts, plants, heat exchanger of ship and seawater desalination plant. The firm plans the expansion when the users need more supply.