HISTORY OF KOBELCO
WELDING BUSINESS

The arc welding process was first employed in Japan in 1914; though covered electrodes were mostly imported, leading shipyards and machinery fabricators were able to produce them for their own uses. Even Kobe Steel produced its own covered electrodes in-house. However, because of the poor quality of domestic welding consumables at that time, only imported consumables were specified for building heavy-duty ships. Later on, it became difficult to import industrial goods from overseas on account of deteriorating international trade. To overcome this problem, Kobe Steel was directed by the government to establish a self-support production framework in 1939. In response, Kobe Steel launched a project to research the production process and welding consumables and, in 1942, developed a high-quality covered electrode, known as “B-17.” Since then “B-17” has proven to be an excellent electrode in terms of quality as well as versatility and has been used extensively.

The production of welding consumables increased in tandem with Japan's postwar reconstruction and economic growth, and, in 1959, the Welding Business became independent from the Iron and Steel Business. Two factories were constructed in 1961 to respond to customer needs for a variety of welding consumables including solid wires, welding fluxes, and flux-cored wires. With the addition of new product lines, the factories were expanded, abolished, or merged for higher production efficiency in 1970 and 1975. Today, the Welding Business' production base is comprised of four plants in Japan.


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