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Korea Pohang Iron And Steel Company Focused On Building Titanium Business
Aug 17, 2017

Known as the "dream" metal titanium has many advantages, strength and corrosion resistance, higher performance, compared with iron weight by 40%, strength was 2 times higher, since twentieth Century 50s, mainly for the commercial, aerospace, construction, military and other industries; the harmless to the human body. It can be used as environmentally friendly medical materials.

Titanium is the ninth largest in the earth's crust, but as smelting of pure titanium costs a lot of money, titanium remains a precious metal and is also the exclusive material of developed countries". Global consumption of about 200 thousand tons, of which China accounted for 32%, including China, the United States, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Japan and other five countries accounted for more than 70% of the consumption.

Demand from the downstream industry, the aerospace industry, the world's largest aircraft manufacturer Boeing uses titanium in Boeing 787 aircraft fuselage, accounted for 15%, moreover, the proportion of titanium material in civil aircraft has gradually improved, thus driving the demand for titanium.

Demand for titanium remains strong in nuclear power plants, thermal power stations, petrochemical plants, shipbuilding and offshore platforms. The corrosion resistance of titanium and platinum similar, and thermal conductivity, excellent chemical resistance and other indicators, suitable for large equipment, heat exchangers, piping and other components, improving the corrosion resistance; at the same time, because of its luminescence properties and characteristics of flame retardant, high flexibility, can also be used for building exterior materials. In Bilbao the Guggenheim Museum, London Olympic Stadium, Tokyo Big Sight International Exhibition Center and other landmark buildings can be seen on the figure of titanium.

In addition, the titanium contact with the human body is not toxic, and will not have rejection phenomenon, therefore, in the dental implant, artificial joints, heart valves and other artificial organs and medical fields are also very widely used. With the improvement of living standards, it has also been applied in sports, leisure and kitchen products.

South Korean steel giant Pohang Iron and Steel Co (POSCO) started to titanium business in 2008, the second half of 2009 to complete the development of titanium plate, 2010 production and sales of such products, with technical experience in carbon steel and stainless steel and other steel products in the field, to ensure that the quality of titanium plate, thus realize the independent production of titanium in South korea.

The production process of titanium sheet is made of titanium ingot and then rolled in hot rolling mill and stainless steel mill of Pohang iron and steel works. Titanium plate or pipe is made according to customer's requirement. Production of the size of more than 0.2mm thickness, width 1220mm, according to hot rolled coil, cold rolled coil and thick plate mass production, at present mainly to purity of more than 99% pure titanium based. Hot rolled and cold rolled coil heat exchanger pipe is mainly used for nuclear power or thermal power, and marine heat exchanger materials; plate heat exchanger for hard as main pipe and pressure vessel, through a subsidiary and POSCO-AST Corporation, the manufacturing technology of joint research on rolling and heat treatment, the future will be based on market demand for the production of titanium alloy products.

At the same time, in order to obtain a stable source of raw materials, improve the cost competitiveness, 2010 POSCO in Kazakhstan and UKTMP (Ust-Kamenogorsk Titanium and Magnesium Plant POSUK TiTanium) company established a joint venture company. In November 2014, the production plant was completed, producing 6000 tons of titanium ingots per year. Thus, the comprehensive production supply system from titanium raw materials to finished products is constructed.

However, as of now, titanium products market in Korea is still slow development, reduce project orders, especially the recent South Korean government announced the removal of nuclear policy, nuclear power plant construction plans to suspend, titanium pipe demand will inevitably decline. In this regard, POSCO believes that it will not have a direct impact on its seamless titanium tube products without welding, there is still a larger market space. Not limited to the native South Korea, POSCO production of titanium plate heat exchanger has been to France and Sweden's manufacturing enterprise supply, and successfully applied to the Middle East Ras Al Khair desalination equipment, and large power station Jeddah South, widely praised in the industry.

Despite the temporary difficulties, the South Korean government continues to make titanium a strategic lightweight material for the future, and is trying to foster it. POSCO, Gyeongbuk and Pohang signed a cooperation agreement in August 2016, including by Pohang's Industrial Research Institute (RIST) research on the related technology of titanium, titanium has established a special commercial technology center, through cooperation with overseas enterprises, mainly the development of titanium alloy materials for aerospace enterprises and attract the best; all kinds of institutions stationed in the industrial park, the production of titanium material and accessories, create named titanium industry cluster Silicon Valley national industrial park of Pohang blue.


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