Toho Titanium plans to ramp up production capacity

Japan’s Toho Titanium plans to ramp up production capacity for a titanium product by more than 10%, as the aerospace industry seeks alternative suppliers to replace imports from Russia, Nikkei has learned.

A joint venture in Saudi Arabia will start running at full capacity by year-end in its production of titanium sponge, an intermediate product used to make titanium alloys. A lightweight yet strong metal, titanium has wide-ranging applications from airplanes to chemical plants.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world’s leading aircraft makers have moved to diversify their sources of metal. Boeing stopped purchasing titanium materials from a Russian manufacturer in 2022, while Airbus is also seeking alternative suppliers.

Amid the growing demand, Toho Titanium has agreed with a joint venture partner in Saudi Arabia to raise the utilization of its titanium sponge plant to the maximum level from the current 70% and is preparing to increase its workforce and secure additional equipment and materials. The move will increase the company’s titanium sponge capacity from about 36,000 tons a year now to more than 40,000 tons.

The increase follows similar steps taken in 2022. The utilization rate was raised from 40% to 55% last spring, then again to 70% in the fall. But even with the increases, Toho Titanium’s output is not considered sufficient to fully replace Russian supplies of the metal.

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