TANAKA Accelerates Global Expansion of Plating Solutions Business
November 22, 2021 The Chemical Daily (Kagaku Kogyo Nippo)
Launching Production in China for the Semiconductor Industry
TANAKA Kikinzoku Kogyo’s Advanced Plating (AP) Company is accelerating global expansion through its plating business. With an active semiconductor market, AP Company’s net sales for the first half of 2021, excluding precious metals and bullion, have been strong, increasing 47% over the same period of the previous year. The same level of growth is also expected for the full year results. China and the U.S. are each moving to increase domestic production of semiconductors, so AP Company is increasing local production of plating solutions in response. Having already commenced local production in China for connectors, it plans to start producing plating solutions locally for semiconductors at the beginning of 2022. It operates plants in the U.S. as well, where it is also considering local production for semiconductors with a medium-term view.
Aiming to expand supply in Europe and the United States
TANAKA Kikinzoku Kogyo operates a plating business through AP Company, one of its in-house companies. AP Company comprises other companies as well, including group companies Electroplating Engineers of Japan (EEJA), in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, and Metalor Technologies International SA, in Switzerland. Together, AP Company is a provider of solutions for the plating process, including plating solutions and equipment. In collaboration with other in-house companies, it provides an effective one-stop service for everything from procurement to manufacturing, sales, recovery, and refining.
Sales growth is being driven by semiconductors, which account for 33% of the total, followed by connectors (23%), printed circuit boards (10%), light-emitting diodes and lead frames (5% each). To grow the business, AP Company is pushing ahead with an international expansion while spurring on initiatives to drive demand from semiconductors. Its semiconductor-oriented business is centered on EEJA, in Hiratsuka.
At the same time, though, it is expanding globally through Metalor, which currently has 22 bases in 11 countries worldwide. Metalor has production sites located close to the areas of demand, including Hiratsuka in Japan, Suzhou in China, and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, with other plants in Switzerland, France, the U.S. and elsewhere. China and the U.S. are increasingly moving to shore up domestic production of semiconductors, and they are eager to develop domestic supply chains to accompany that production. Having seen the commercial opportunities that this presents, AP Company is pushing ahead with local production for the semiconductor industry. Its Suzhou Plant in China, which is leading the drive to domestic production, mainly produces plating solutions for connectors. It is expanding production of platinum plating solutions, which are seen as a potential substitute for rhodium plating solutions that are rapidly rising in price. AP Company is also making preparations to begin production for semiconductors. “We are in the testing phase at present with a view to begin shipping sometime between the end of the year and start of next year,” commented Muneharu Nakanouchi, President of EEJA. AP Company is planning to supply local semiconductor manufacturers in China.
It also operates Metalor plants in the U.S. Nakanouchi commented that “We have not started production for the semiconductor industry in the U.S. yet, but we are starting small and expanding carefully.” Nevertheless, AP Company is refining strategies in anticipation of new local demand for its products. With the European Union (EU) having announced a target of 20% global share of the semiconductor production market by 2030, AP Company will focus on supplying plating solutions in Europe as well.