Japan Steel Works
Japan Steel Works was set up with investment from British firms Vickers, Armstrong Whitworth and Mitsui. During World War II, they manufactured what was then the world's largest gun barrel to be fitted on the battleship Yamato. 200 workers in their main plant in Muroran were killed in a 1945 attack by Allied Forces.
Japan Steel Works' industrial processes which are used to purify steel are held to high standards. These include the use of argon gas to eliminate impurities, and the addition of manganese, chromium and nickel to make the steel harder.
Japan Steel Works' services are in great demand owing to its role as one of only four manufacturers worldwide of large single-piece pressure vessels for nuclear reactors at the company's factory, which is located on the island of Hokkaidō. The other manufacturers as of 2010 are two companies in China, and one in Russia. However, Japan Steel Works is the only one that can make cores in a single piece without welds, which reduces risk from radiation leakage. The company has boosted production to 6 units per year from 4 previously of the steel pressure vessel forgings, which contain the nuclear reactor core. It is scheduled to take capacity to 11 by 2013. Due to the production bottleneck, utilities across the world are submitting orders years in advance of any actual need, along with deposits worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Other manufacturers are examining various options, including finding ways to make a similar item using alternate methods, or making the component themselves with welds. However, welds are weak points which can result in reactor leakage.
Other items manufactured by Japan Steel Works include machines for processed plastics. They also continue to make a limited number of traditional Japanese swords. They are also involved in the development of the Type 10 battle tank, Type 99 155 mm self-propelled howitzer and Naval artillery.
In fiscal year 2001, Japan Steel Works posted a net loss of ¥1.81 billion on sales of ¥119.70 billion. Their performance improved in 2002, with net profit of ¥100 million on sales of ¥129 billion; however, this was far short of their earlier estimate of ¥600 million net profit on sales of ¥134 billion.
Japan Steel Works Ltd. increased net profit to ¥12.6 billion for the nine months to December 31, 2007. Revenue was up to ¥159.2 billion. Operating profit increased to ¥21.9 billion and ordinary profit rose to ¥21.2 billion. Full-year revenue forecast is unchanged at ¥ 218 billion to March 31, 2008. The company maintained a full-year net profit forecast of ¥15 billion.
- "会社情報 (Company information)", Official website, Japan Steel Works, Ltd., retrieved 2008-03-14
- Takemoto, Yoshifumi; Katz, Alan (2008-03-13), "Bloomberg exclusive: Samurai-Sword Maker's Reactor Monopoly May Cool Nuclear Revival", Bloomberg.com, retrieved 2008-03-14
- Kid, Steve (2009-03-03), "New nuclear build – sufficient supply capability?", Nuclear Engineering International, retrieved 2011-01-17
- Heavy Manufacturing of Power Plants, World Nuclear Association, December 2010, retrieved 2011-01-17
- Suga, Masumi; Song, Yasumasa (2010-06-01), "Japan Steel to Sell Parts for 26 Nuclear Reactors", BusinessWeek, retrieved 2011-01-17
- "Japan Steel Works revises downward earnings for year to March.", Japan Weekly Monitor, 2002-03-20, retrieved 2008-03-14
- "Japan Steel Works Ltd. (5631): Stock Quote & Company Profile - BusinessWeek", BusinessWeek, retrieved 2011-01-17
- Company website (English version)