Toho Titanium boost sponge capacity

Toho Titanium Co. is increasing its production capacity for titanium sponge by some 10% to 14,000 tons a year, anticipating strong demand for years to come because of the need in China and elsewhere in Asia for power plants and chemical plants. Titanium sponge is the porous form of pure titanium. Toho Titanium moulds the material into ingots for supply to steelmakers and other manufacturers that roll out titanium for such products as heat exchangers, pipes, tanks and airplane fuselages. To make titanium sponge, raw titanium ore is mixed with coke and chlorine, then heated to form titanium tetrachloride. This in turn is reacted with magnesium in a reducing furnace. Toho Titanium’s plant at its headquarters in Chigasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, currently has the capacity to make 13,000 tons of titanium sponge a year. The plant has 143 large-capacity reducing furnaces that can process more than eight tons at a time, and 63 small-capacity reducing furnaces that can process 4.5 tons at a time. To boost its overall production capacity, the company is investing 500 million yen (USD 4.5 million) to enlarge three of the small-capacity reducing furnaces. In addition, some equipment that was shut down amid declining orders after attacks of 11 September 2001 will be restarted.

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