Our copper products business has four production plants in Japan, including the Sakai Plant, Wakamatsu Plant, Sambo Plant, and Onahama Smelting & Refining Co., Ltd. (casting division). We are the leading manufacturer of rolled copper products in the Japanese domestic market. Further, we have established a global manufacturing and sales network with the Luvata Group which has 12 manufacturing and sales locations in seven countries around the world.
To meet the needs of customers, we offer a wide range of products from general-purpose to highly complex products such as billets, cakes and wirerods, secondary processed products like strips, plates, bars, wires, lead frames, forged products, bus bars, welding electrodes and superconducting wires.
We continue to develop new products and increase production capacity to meet the growing demand for copper products with the rise of connected, autonomous, shared and electrified (CASE) and mobility as a service (MaaS) in the automotive industry, as well as the spread of the new 5G communication standard.
Particularly in the automotive industry, the rapid spread of next-generation vehicles in various countries has caused a rise in demand for high-performance, small-size, and low-cost electronic devices for vehicles, in addition to supporting high voltage and large current.
We have successfully developed and mass-produced new alloys that meet these needs, such as MSP5, MSP8 and oxygen-free copper (OFC) which are indispensable in the production of next-generation vehicles. MSP5 has excellent characteristics for miniaturization and weight reduction, so does MSP8 for high voltage and large current applications. In addition, we have other products such as MSP1 which have been extensively evaluated by automotive customers. Furthermore, the Luvata Group manufactures products such as superconducting wires used in MRI magnets and hollow conductors used for special coils.
We will continue to reduce the environmental impact by developing the lead-free copper alloy Eco Brass. Aiming to extend this technology worldwide, we have established a global license agreement with Wieland in Europe and Chase Brass in the United States. Eco Brass is compliant with lead regulations (RoHS, ELV) in North America and Europe.
In addition, fishing nets made of chemical fibers are one source of marine waste and a global concern. We aim to realize a more sustainable solution with the spread of copper alloy UR30ST as an alternative material for fishing nets.
We also contribute to reduce the spread of infectious diseases by manufacturing and sales of discoloration-resistant and disinfecting copper alloys, namely our “clean series” that exploit the antibacterial properties of copper.
Oxygen-free copper is a high-purity copper that contains almost no oxygen or oxides, and is a material with excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, weldability and workability. Oxygen-free copper is used as a high electric conductive material or cooling material due to its excellent electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity. As the demand for these characteristics grows in line with electrification of the automobile and spreading xEV, applications of oxygen-free copper are expected to expand further.
Our group, including the Luvata Group which was acquired in 2017, is one of the world's leading oxygen-free copper manufacturers with significant production capacity. In addition, by employing our casting technology, many years of experience and the high-grade cathodes produced at our Naoshima Smelter & Refinery and Onahama Smelting & Refining Co., Ltd, we have production capacity for high-grade oxygen-free copper of which the oxygen concentration is reduced to the limit. Such technologies enable us to cast various high-performing copper alloys with added oxygen-active elements, including magnesium (Mg) and zirconium (Zr), which are easily oxidized and difficult to alloy. We can maximize alloy performance by utilizing our excellent rolling, extrusion and deforming technologies as well.
By responding to the growing demand for oxygen-free copper, our group will contribute to customers around the world via our unified marketing activities that combine development, manufacturing and sales.