KMCT in 3 Minutes

Kobelco & Materials Copper Tube is a global copper tube manufacturer dedicated to strengthening supply networks and technologies while meeting the diverse needs of customers worldwide. Learn more about the advantages offered by KMCT, and our strategies for growth.

  • Story 1 The Company's Roots
  • Story 2 Products and Markets
  • Story 3 Sophisticated Materials Technology
  • Story 4 Proprietary Processing Technology
  • Story 5 Production and Supply Network
  • Story 6 Vision and Strategy

Story 1 The Company's Roots

Created in 2004 from a merger of the copper tube divisions of Kobe Steel, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation.

Kobelco & Materials Copper Tube was created in April 2004 from a merger of the copper tube divisions of Kobe Steel, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation to respond to the shrinking market in Japan and expanding market in Southeast Asia.

Combining the sophisticated copper tube manufacturing technology and production capacity of Kobe Steel with the exceptional alloy material and copper tube manufacturing technology of Mitsubishi Materials, KMCT is the across-the-board industry leader, in areas such as production and sales volume, quality and cost competitiveness, technological development and manufacturing technology. In order to respond to the changing market, production in Japan was concentrated into a single site in 2005, and facilities were strengthened and expanded at the Thailand Plant in 2010 and the Malaysia Plant in 2012.

One of KMCT’s chief developments is the copper alloy that Kobe Steel and Mitsubishi Materials were working on even before KMCT was established. KMCT became first in the industry to succeed in mass producing copper alloy tubes. We will continue to develop and produce new products to meet the needs of customers not only in Japan but worldwide.

The World’s Leading Steel Manufacturer Kobelco Kobe Steel (Kobelco) Copper Tube Business Sophisticated manufacturing and mass production technology The World’s Leading Materials Manufacturer Mitsubishi Materials Copper Tube Business Integrated production, from smelting to alloy and copper tube production KMCT Kobelco & Materials Copper Tube Co., Ltd.

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Story 2 Products and Markets

Supporting a wide range of industries and society through development and supply of copper tubes for air-conditioning and other uses.

Copper offers superior thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance, antibacterial properties and workability. Copper tubes, which make the most of these advantages, is widely used in many areas affecting everyday life.

Air-conditioning is a prominent example. High performance inner-grooved copper tubes, one of KMCT’s chief products, can be used in indoor and outdoor air-conditioning units to achieve better heat exchange. Due to its exceptional ease-of-handling, copper tubes can also be used in the piping that connects the indoor and outdoor units.

In addition to air-conditioning, KMCT offers products for a wide variety of fields, including refrigeration, construction, hot-water supply and electronics. In order to meet society’s diverse needs we engage in development and production of a wide gamut of copper tubes.

Diagram of products and markets

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Story 3 Sophisticated Materials Technology”

A pioneer in copper alloy tubes, pursuing new possibilities in the use of copper.

Utilizing sophisticated materials technology cultivated over many years, KMCT develops new copper tube products to meet markets needs as they change with the times.

For instance in recent years, with the increased concern for global warming, natural refrigerants such as carbon dioxide have begun to be used as coolant in heat pumps, vending machines and other devices in place of the CFCs, HFCs, and HCFCs previously used. Since natural refrigerants are highly pressurized when used, thick-walled copper tubes are required. However, thin-walled copper tubes are preferable from a cost perspective.

With cooperation from the Kobe Steel and Mitsubishi Materials research divisions, KMCT engages in continual research and development and has created a revolutionary high-strength copper alloy tube that achieves thinner walls while maintaining the exceptional workability inherent to copper. Because the product is stronger than conventional copper tubes it requires sophisticated production technologies. However, through the combined efforts of our R&D, manufacturing, quality control and machinery divisions, KMCT has made mass production possible. Additionally, by offering a range of corrosion-resistant copper alloy tubes, we have increased the dependability and range of applications for piping.

KMCT will continue to be a pioneer in the world of copper alloy tubing, uncovering new possibilities for copper and leading the industry.

Cu (copper)+Co (cobalt)=heat resistance/strength up, Cu (copper)+Sn (tin)=strength up

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Story 4 Proprietary Processing Technology

Taking advantage of the years of experience and development behind our sophisticated processing technologies.

Photograph of copper tubes with a variety of treatments

In 1979 the Hatano Plant, the crux of our production network, was the first plant in the world to successfully mass produce inner-grooved tubes. Sophisticated processing technologies such as these have remained a tradition at KMCT to the present day.

In recent years, with the increasing need for thin-wall and small–diameter copper tubes, the technological demands placed on manufacturing have grown increasingly complex. For instance, the decreased size and increased efficiency of air conditioners has led to smaller diameter and thinner walls for inner-grooved copper tubes.

From melting to packing, a range of technologies, knowledge and expertise are necessary during production, requiring us to make use of our many years of experience amassed in the industry. In order to further improve quality and productivity we will continue to engage in development of manufacturing and equipment technologies, providing better products to customers faster and at lower costs, and striving to always evolve with the times.

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Story 5 Production and Supply Network

Meeting the increasing demands and needs of Asia, with plants in Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.

The global demand for copper tubes, including from developing nations, is on the rise. In order to respond to this trend KMCT expanded overseas at an early stage, bringing production and sales closer to newly growing markets.

Production in Japan is carried out entirely by the Hatano Plant. This plant can handle everything from melting to tube fabrication and treatments, with an annual production capacity of 60,000 tons. In addition to copper tube for air-conditioners, construction, electronics and other uses, the plant also produces semi-finished pipes supplied to the Malaysia Plant. The Hatano Plant is the only one of KMCT’s plants to boast its own Research and Development Department, and serves as the crux of our production network.

Like the Hatano Plant, the Thailand Plant is fully equipped and capable of all process from melting onwards. As the Group’s newest plant, it features state-of-the-art facilities, with an annual production capacity of 30,000 tons. The plant serves as a global center, exporting products not only to Asia, but also the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere.

The Malaysia Plant receives semi-finished goods from the Hatano and Thailand plants and uses them to manufacture copper tubes for air-conditioners and other applications. Its yearly production capacity is 10,000 tons. While the production capacity is lower than the other two plants, the plant specializes in products such as capillary tubes and fabricated parts.

Together, the Group’s annual production capacity is 100,000 tons, a leading figure among copper tube manufacturers worldwide. The Hatano and two overseas plants engage in active exchange of people, technologies and items, forming a well-oiled and perfectly optimized global production network. This allows us to produce high-quality products in the shortest amount of time possible.

Diagram of production network

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Story 6 Vision and Strategy

Offering optimal copper tube solutions, in step with changing market needs.

The demand for air-conditioners is expected to increase, especially in developing nations exhibiting strong economic growth and developed nations where the rate of ownership is currently low. The number of air conditioners is expected to increase from 90 million in 2012 to 130 million in 2020. As a result, the demand for air-conditioner copper tubes is also expected to increase.

But as demand increases, the importance of environmental conservation is also rising. As a result, the expectations placed on copper tubes, both in terms of materials and form, are growing more complex. Demand for products such as copper tubes that are compatible with new environmentally-friendly refrigerants, or extra small diameter tubes offering better heat exchange is likely to increase.

As a dedicated copper tube manufacturer, KMCT will offer optimal solutions to meet the challenges of higher demand and more complex and diversified needs. Through unparalleled research and development, staunch technological expertise and a global production and supply network, we are fully equipped to offer high-quality high-performance products.

Europe Strategy for European Markets The market for air-conditioners, especially high-end units, is expected to expand. We will use the Thailand and Malaysia plants to supply high-quality and high-performance copper tubes. Asia Strategy for Asian Markets The market in Asia for mid-range and economy air-conditioners is expanding. In order to meet this growing demand we will continue to supply high-quality and high-performance copper tubes from the Hatano, Thailand and Malaysia plants.