Kobe Steel, Ltd. has begun supplying titanium alloy forged material for shafts to IHI Corporation. The forged material certified by IHI will be used in a large commercial jet engine manufactured by General Electric (GE). IHI is one of the joint development partners of the engine.
Rotating parts, such as shafts and disks, made of titanium alloy forged material are some of the largest components used in aircraft jet engines and must be of extremely high quality. Development of the forged material was launched three years ago by Kobe Steel. Now that the company has recently received certification from IHI, it has begun mass-producing and supplying the titanium alloy forged material for shafts through its group company, Japan Aeroforge, Ltd. (JForge), which performs the forging. Kobe Steel is responsible for the other processes for the part, as well and quality assurance.
JForge, established in January 2011, is a joint venture of Kobe Steel, Hitachi Metals, and several other companies. Equipped with a 50,000 tonne hydraulic forging press, one of the largest class in the world, JForge manufactures large forged material used in aircraft, where demand is anticipated to increase worldwide. Kobe steel and JForge will expand their titanium business for aircraft jet engines following the supply order from IHI.
Passenger jets in service worldwide are projected to increase from approximately 20,800 in 2015 to over 38,000 in 2035, according to Japan Aircraft Development Corporation, which promotes the development of commercial aircraft. As a result, demand is also anticipated to expand in related industries. Under its Medium-Term Management Plan launched in April 2016, Kobe Steel has positioned the aviation materials business, including titanium, as a core business sector for strategic growth.