Today, Kobe Steel, Ltd. announced the location of their first North American aluminum extrusion and fabrication facility in Bowling Green, Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc.(KPEX). The project will bring $46.7 million in capital investment and create 105 jobs.
The project will include the construction of a new facility in the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park in southern Warren County for an aluminum melting/casting line, an extrusion line, and two bumper fabrication lines. Fabrication operations start in 2017, the melting/casting and extrusion processes are anticipated to begin a year later, in 2018.
The new line is being driven by the demand for aluminum bumper reinforcements for lightweight vehicles. The current trend toward “lightweighting” of vehicles or reducing their overall weight helps consumers save through lower fuel consumption, and ultimately helps improve the environment. Companies such as KPEX create products that contribute to the production of lighter weight vehicles that are currently in high demand. The location of KPEX is exciting addition to the already strong aluminum cluster in South Central Kentucky that is experiencing impressive growth thanks to the growing demand for light weight vehicles.
“We’ve been supplying aluminum bumper beams to Japanese automakers since the 1990s, and now KPEX will enable us to provide our customers here with the same quality products to meet their requirements for lightweight components,” said Executive Vice President Akira Kaneko, who heads the Aluminum & Copper Business at Kobe Steel. “And through KPEX, we look forward to contributing to Bowling Green with capital investment, manufacturing growth and more jobs for people in the community,” he added.
Established in 1905, Kobe Steel is the third largest steel manufacturer in Japan generating $15.7 billion in annual sales. Kobe Steel employs approximately 36,000 people at 97 locations across 16 countries.
“We are very proud that a company like Kobe Steel, Ltd. has chosen our South Central Kentucky Industrial Park for their first U.S. extrusion plant. They are a leader in a growing industry and we look forward to having them here in Warren County,” stated Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon. “Thank you to the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce for working with Kobe Steel to make this project a reality.”
“Bowling Green’s aluminum industry is flourishing and Kobe Steel recognizes the potential for success and growth for their company here. We are excited to have them join over 45 other metal fabrication companies in South Central Kentucky,” shared Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson.
“We are delighted to have a first-class company like Kobe Steel, Ltd. choose Bowling Green for their second manufacturing location here. We welcome KPEX to the area and we look forward to working with them as they grow,” said Chamber President and CEO Ron Bunch. “The impact 105 full-time jobs will have on South Central Kentucky will improve the quality of life for many in our community.”
KPEX will break ground in early summer. The addition of KPEX to the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park marks the completion of the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park.
This is the 3rd economic development announcement for South Central Kentucky in 2016 with $65.7 million in capital investment and 170 new jobs created. For more information on the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park or the Chamber of Commerce, contact Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Ron Bunch, CEcD at firstname.lastname@example.org or (270) 781-3200.
For additional information about Kobe Steel, please visit http://www.kobelco.co.jp/english/.