Two of Japan’s leading MIM producers, Sumitomo Metal Mining Ltd (SMM) and Nippon Piston Ring Ltd (NPR), recently signed an agreement for NPR to acquire SMM’s MIM operation based in Sagami, Yamato City. The transfer of SMM’s MIM operation to NPR will formally take effect on May 31, 2014, with the full transfer of MIM production to NPR expected to be completed no later than September 30, 2015.
SMM’s Materials Division began its Metamold MIM operation in the late 1980s with a number of significant successes for MIM parts produced for the automotive, industrial machinery and lock sectors. However, unlike its core business of Mineral Resources or Smelting & Refining, the Materials business is characterised by short product cycles and dramatic fluctuations, and under its current three year business plan SMM decided on structural reforms and to focus on its core competencies. The company had total group sales of Yen 808,540 million ($7.885 billion) in its financial year ending March 31, 2013.
NPR for its part is focused on the manufacture of components for the automotive sector including some MIM components used in engines such as rocker arms. The company decided to acquire the MIM business from SMM in a quest to expand its product portfolio for MIM parts in non-automotive applications. During the year ended March of 2013, group sales at Nippon Piston Ring Co Ltd were ¥47.02 billion (US$459.84 million).