Kobe Steel Ltd., Japan’s leading supplier of titanium and titanium alloys, has started supplying titanium-alloy forged material for shafts to IHI Corp. The forged material certified by IHI is used in a large commercial jet engine manufactured by General Electric. IHI is one of the joint development partners of the engine. Kobe Steel is in charge of process design for the forged material for the shafts, and its group company, Japan Aeroforge Ltd. (JForge), does the actual forging. JForge is a joint venture of Kobe Steel, Hitachi Metals and several other companies established in January 2011. Equipped with a 50,000-metric-ton hydraulic forging press, JForge manufactures large forged components used in aircraft.
Kobe Steel launched development of the forged material three years ago. After receiving certification, the company has begun mass-producing and supplying the titanium-alloy forged material for shafts. Kobe Steel and JForge will expand the titanium business for aircraft jet engines following the supply order from IHI.
Kobe Steel provides integrated production from ingot melting to forged materials. The company has positioned the aviation-materials business, including titanium, as a core sector for strategic growth.