Mining News Pro - Showa Denko Carbon, Inc. (SDKC) which is located in Ridgeville, U.S. and is one of the leading producers of ultra-high performance large diameter graphite electrodes in the country is currently undergoing expansion at its plant site.

The expansion goes by the nickname ‘PFC-75’ which stand for Passion for Change, and 75 represents the 75,000 metric tons of annual capacity the plant will have once its third expansion is completed by the end of this year. The capacity expansion was commissioned last year and the factory is expected to operate at full capacity by the end of 2018. Reports suggest that the capacity is being enhanced from the current level of 45,000 tonnes to 75,000 tonnes. SDKC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan-based graphite electrode manufacturer Showa Denko KK (SDK).

As per the company’s top management, the key intention of this expansion is to serve not only domestic but also export markets due to increased global demand for graphite electrodes (GE). After the Chinese government announced the closure of its polluting GE units and pushed for more usage of EAFs (Electric arc furnaces) in 2016, as a part of country’s supply-side reforms, the demand for GE has increased significantly. SDKC’s key customers in the domestic market include U.S., steel major Nucor Corp mill.

The company also expects that the Trump’s tariffs announcement on steel imports will revive U.S.’s domestic steel industry which in turn will benefit the country’s GE manufacturers as the majority of steel firms in U.S. uses electric furnaces for steel manufacturing.

As per the market sources, Nucor expects to double its second-quarter earnings compared to last year while Liberty Steel U.S., a subsidiary of the United Kingdom’s Liberty House Group, is reopening a steel mill in Georgetown that had been shuttered since August 2015.

The parent company, Showa Denko KK’s (SDK) carbon division, now the largest graphite electrode producer in the world, operates plants in Japan, China, Malaysia, United States, Austria, Germany and Spain, and employs 1,600 people including over 275 in the Ridgeville, South Carolina plant.

SDK had acquired the Ridgeville plant from Airco Carbon Inc., in July 1988. In October 2017, SDK completed USD 382 million acquisition of the Wiesbaden, Germany-based graphite electrode manufacturing division of SGL GMBH.

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