Toyo Kohan was founded in 1934 as Japan's first private tin plate manufacturer. Ever since its founding, Toyo Kohan has been obsessed with "steel" and has led the industry as a pioneer in surface treated steel sheet. Using the knowledge and know-how that it has acquired during its history, Toyo Kohan has continuously challenged new fields that are not confined by the word "steel."
Kudamatsu Plant first framework raising ceremony
In 1934, over 80 percent of tin plate was produced in the United States, Great Britain and Germany. Japan imported most of its tin plate.
Toyo Kohan was established on April 11, 1934 for the purpose of making domestic tin plate.
By 1936 it was producing 3,000 tons of tin plates a month.
After World War I, the innovative strip mill rolling method was developed for making thin steel sheet. Toyo Kohan was the first to use cold strip mill operation in Japan in 1938.
Tin Free Steel (Hi-Top)
Although the Pacific War ended in 1945, Toyo Kohan was facing a business crisis. In order to remake the company, the equipment that was owned was used to start production of civilian goods. Various innovations were used to make up for the lack of raw materials and continue production, and the period of post-War confusion was overcome.
The Japanese economy entered a period of rapid growth in 1950 with the start of the Korean War, and production of tin plate grew. In 1955 Toyo Kohan installed new electroplating equipment that allowed continuous tin electroplating and this lead to steady production. By the following year electroplated tin plate accounted for 40 percent of total production.
During this same period, we started development of next-generation products, such as tin-free steel and Vinyl Chloride Resin Decorative Steel Sheet. Our tin-free steel technology gathered global attention, and the technology was exported to West Germany and Great Britain. Toyo Kohan was the first Japanese company to make a Vinyl Chloride Resin Decorative Steel Sheet, "VINITOP," which was a composite of steel and plastic (1959). This product gradually gained recognition overseas, and eventually the technology was exported to France and Canada.
During the first half of the 1960s we expanded sales of our cold-rolled steel sheet, "Top". The high quality achieved with our rolling technology developed from tin plate production and our service gained a good reputation for the company and sales grew. Later on, "Top" was adopted in the production of parts for the cathode ray tubes used in televisions at the time (production ended in 2013), and we gained a high global market share.
During the 1960s the Japanese steel industry started to expand integrated steelworks with higher crude production capacity. In this situation, Toyo Kohan's capital investment was aimed at improving its surface treatment facilities. In 1967, we started sales of our "Silver Top" electrogalvanized steel sheet as a new surface treated product. "Silver Top" had better corrosion resistance than conventional electrogalvanized steel, so we focused sales on the home appliances, automobile parts and light construction material industries. Toyo Kohan's products were highly regarded abroad for their superior properties, and we started exporting aggressively in the 1970s.
Laminated Steel Sheet (Hi-Pet)
Change came about in 1977. Due to trade friction with the western countries and the appreciating yen, the sales our export business decreased and we suffered losses for the first time since the founding of the company. In order to overcome this, we started making new businesses and developing new products to enter new markets.
In the 1980s, new laminated steel sheet "Hi-Pet" (1985) and the nickel-plated steel sheet "Ni-Top" (1987) were added as new materials to our steel sheet business, making that business more diversified. Originally, laminated steel sheet was mainly used as a construction material, and the "Hi-Pet" was born from the idea of using it for food products. "Hi-Pet" was adopted for use in TULC* that we jointly developed with Toyo Seikan Co., Ltd. As a result of this we developed technology to make film for containers, and this was our first step into the chemical products business. The functionality of "Ni-Top" was recognized, so that it was adopted for many different uses, including for batteries.
* "TULC" is an abbreviation of "Toyo Ultimate Can." This was developed by Toyo Seikan Co., Ltd.
Our first overseas plant in Malaysia
Mirror Coat K in use
(Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, Ltd. building)
In 1985 we applied our technology developed for making steel sheet to aluminum to start making the "MD" aluminum substrates for magnetic disks. We used our unique surface treatment and polishing technologies, and these substrates were highly regarded in Japan and abroad. In order to meet overseas demand, in 1997 we constructed our first overseas plant in Malaysia.
In the 2000s a number of new products were born: the "DNA Chip" which is a bio-chip substrate that was our first step into the medical field (2004); "Mirror Coat K" that was the first silver mirror finish process for metal in the world (2007); and our "Functional Film for Optics" that was developed from our conventional film production technology (2007). With many Japanese companies moving their production facilities abroad, we also established a subsidiary in China and in 2012 we established a joint venture company in Turkey. We shall continue to develop overseas markets and expand our business fields.
Our history has gone hand-in-hand with "steel" for the past 80 years. Toyo Kohan will continue growing based on that experience and history. We shall continue to make innovative challenges in order to create new values that exceed the norms of "steel."