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SDK Starts Production of 32-Inch Graphite Electrodes

August 29, 2005

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has started commercial production of 32-inch-diameter graphite electrodes, the largest size on the world market, for use in electric-arc furnaces for steel production.

SDK will start delivery of this product in November this year to Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co., Ltd.’s Okayama Plant. This will be the first time that 32-inch-diameter graphite electrodes are commercially used in Japan.

Graphite electrodes are used mainly in electric-arc furnaces that melt scrap steel for recycling. This is because graphite electrodes have the following advantages:

  • 1. Resistant to thermal shock under severe temperature conditions (Low degree of distortion after sudden rises and falls in temperature)
  • 2.Sufficient mechanical strength to prevent breakage in the event of a collision with falling scrap steel
  • 3.Physical properties suitable for passage of heavy electric current

Graphite electrodes are also used for the production of stainless steel and specialty steel.

Graphite electrodes with larger diameters ensure higher steel-production efficiency as the amount of electric current increases in proportion to the size of electrode’s cross section.

However, to produce uniformly graphitized, large-sized electrodes, a high-level quality control is required in the coke-baking and graphitization processes. SDK has established the relevant production technology by fully utilizing its expertise in this industry. SDK has reformed some of its existing 30-inch-electrode production lines to ensure mass production of 32-inch electrodes.

While SDK will produce the 32-inch graphite electrodes only at its Omachi Plant in Japan for the time being, its U.S. subsidiary Showa Denko Carbon, Inc. in South Carolina will also start production when demand grows further. Thus, the SDK Group aims to secure a 50% share in the world’s 32-inch graphite electrode market.