Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (KAAP), a U.S. joint venture, plans to further expand its production facilities to meet the rising demand in North America for aluminum forged suspension products. Bowling Green, Ky.-based KAAP decided in November 2015 to install a melting and casting line and two forging presses. Mass production is scheduled to begin this summer. The company now plans to invest approximately $53 million to install an additional melting and casting line and two more forging presses. Start-up will begin in the fall of 2018, with completion scheduled for early 2019. KAAP also anticipates hiring 100 additional workers.
When the initial November 2015 capital investment is completed, KAAP will have three melting and casting lines and eight forging presses. Production capacity will increase from the current 540,000 pieces per month to 750,000 pieces per month. When the new project is finished, the company will have four melting and casting lines and 10 forging presses in 495,200 square feet of manufacturing space.
KAAP was established in 2003 as a joint venture of Kobe Steel, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corp. to produce aluminum forged suspension products in the U.S. Aluminum forged suspensions contribute to improving the fuel economy of cars.