Kobe Steel Ltd. will invest $46.7 million to manufacture and sell aluminum extrusions for the automotive sector in the U.S. The new business will operate through a company called Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. (KPEX) in Bowling Green, Ky. The new company, which is anticipated to create 110 jobs, will have an integrated production facility with operations ranging from melting to fabrication. Construction of the plant is expected to begin this summer. Fabrication will start in the second half of 2017, and the melting to extrusion processes will begin in the second half of 2018.
KPEX will be Kobe Steel's second manufacturing operation in Bowling Green after Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC (KAAP), which began production in 2005. KAAP makes aluminum forgings for automotive suspension systems and aluminum cast rods for compressors. KPEX will make bumper materials for cars and car frame materials. Kobe Steel has been supplying aluminum bumper materials to Japanese automakers since the 1990s, and its original weight-saving proposals and cross-section design technology have received high acclaim from customers.