More than 100 jobs and a $46.7 million investment over the next decade will eventually result following Tuesday’s groundbreaking by Kobe Steel, Ltd.
Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. (KPEX) broke ground on its first North American aluminum extrusion and fabrication facility in Bowling Green, a released noted.
KPEX will construct a new facility in the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park in southern Warren County to house two bumper fabrication lines, an aluminum melting/casting line and an extrusion line. Fabrication operations will start in 2017, while melting/casting and extrusion processes are anticipated to begin in 2018.
As part of the global drive to conserve fuel, reducing the weight of automobiles has become a vital concern of automobile makers worldwide. The aluminum parts that will be made on KPEX’s bumper fabrication lines are light weight and will contribute to the overall reduction in weight of the automobile. Their products will help consumers save through lowered fuel consumption, and ultimately help improve the environment.
“The start of construction marks another new beginning for us in the U.S.,” said Takumi Fujii, Managing Executive Officer at Kobe Steel. “Our aluminum bumper material has received high acclaim from automakers, and we are looking forward to supplying them from Bowling Green,” said Fujii, who is responsible for aluminum castings, forgings and extrusions at Kobe Steel.
According to Kobe Steel’s head of the Aluminum & Copper Business, Executive Vice President Akira Kaneko, they have been supplying aluminum bumper beams to Japanese automakers since the 1990s. KPEX will enable Kobe Steel the ability to provide the same quality products to meet their U.S. customers’ needs and requirements for lightweight components.
Kobe Steel was established in 1905 and is the third largest steel manufacturer in Japan, generating $16.2 billion in annual sales. Kobe Steel employs over 36,000 people at 102 locations across 16 countries.