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SDK to Expand Production Capacity for Aluminum Cylinders for Laser Printers

August 2, 2005

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has decided to expand its capacity for producing aluminum cylinders for laser printers by building a new three-million-tubes-per month production line at its Nasu Plant in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan.

Demand for laser printers is increasing, especially for office use, because they provide such advantages as high printing speed, low running cost and printability on any types of paper.

In particular, demand for color laser printers, so far in the initial stage of introduction, will start to rise in 2005. The laser printer market in 2010 is expected to be equally divided by color printers and monochrome printers. Since four aluminum cylinders are required for one color laser printer, demand for aluminum cylinders will also grow substantially.

SDK is currently producing aluminum cylinders for laser printers at three plants in Japan (Oyama, Nasu, Hikone) and one plant each in the United States (Ohio) and China (Dalian), with a combined capacity of producing nine million tubes per month. To ensure high-quality printing, those tubes must meet stringent requirements for surface smoothness, roundness and straightness at micron-levels.

Compared with the conventional machining process with a lathe, SDK has developed a proprietary ED (extrusion and drawing) process to produce the cylinders, ensuring high performance and cost competitiveness.

The new production line at the Nasu Plant will be based on SDK’s latest technology to meet much higher requirements for quality and precision in aluminum cylinders to be used in color printers. The new line, with capital investment of approximately ¥2 billion, will start commercial operation in June 2006.

SDK will also upgrade part of the facilities at other locations to ensure production of cylinders for color printers while expanding capacities through debottlnecking. As a result, SDK’s total cylinder production capacity will increase to 15 million tubes per month by the end of 2006.

Under the ongoing medium-term business plan, the Sprout Project, SDK allocates substantial resources to the aluminum components operation as one of the strategic growth businesses. SDK is providing printer parts and other individualized products with high performance.