The two joint-venture partners in the International Crankshaft Inc. operation plan to install a fourth forging line at that Georgetown, KY, plant. ICI is a co-owned subsidiary of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation, and produces an estimated 2.7 million crankshafts annually for the domestic automotive supply chain.
The project will add a 5,000-mt forging press with an estimated capacity of 1.3 million finished crankshafts, at an announced cost of $46 million. This will raise total capacity at the site to 4 million/year.
Other design details and supply information were not available. The new press will begin operation in November 2015, according to NSSMC’s statement.
In the release, NSSMC cited the forecast for North American automotive sales to rise 7% through 2018, and the decision by Japanese and Korean automakers to increase production in the domestic market.
It also cited domestic automakers’ shifting preference for forged crankshafts over cast products, in order to improve the performance of higher fuel-efficiency engines.
ICI started producing crankshafts in Kentucky in 1992, and presently operates three forging presses — 6,000 mt, 7,000 mt, and 6,000 mt high-speed — reportedly at full capacity.
NSSMC own 80% of the ICI operation, which is one of four crankshaft forging businesses it operates worldwide. Others are in Japan, China, and India, and the organization’s current total capacity is 11 million crankshafts, representing about 10% of the global market.