Nippon Steel Pipe India derives its foundation and technological supremacy from its parent company, Nippon Steel Corporation, Japan. As of 2023, the NSPI boasts of an experience of 12 years in the Indian market, wherein NSPI has been marketing some of the specialized improvement every year, showcasing a resilient, and persistent stance that it probably gets from its Japanese roots. In a recent conversation with Tube & Pipe India, Mr. Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, Managing Director, Nippon Steel Pipe India, relays the journey map of NSPI, growth trajectory, strengths and USP, and the company’s relations with its regional clientele, OEM manufacturers. As a major supplier of tube applications to 4W, 2W, and construction machinery OEMs, NSPI looks forward to venturing into EV, making the contribution in lightweighting of the car by developing high grade steel.
Tube & Pipe India: Please share with us Nippon Steel Pipe India’s journey, including history, major milestones & achievements.
Hiroyuki Yoshikawa: Nippon Steel Pipe India (NSPI) was founded in 2010. It is a subsidiary of Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC), one of Japan’s leading steel manufacturers. NSC has its manufacturing bases in Japan and other countries around the world. It is Japan’s largest steelmaker, along with being one of the world’s leading steel pipe makers.
NSPI began its journey in India in 2010 with a manufacturing plant in Neemrana, Rajasthan. In 2012, we installed ERW and CDW lines, and from 2013, started full-scale operation of pipe making in India. Since the start of operations, we have started our business with the SOP of front forks (FF) for 2-wheeler (2W) OEMs. Since 2014, we have been gradually expanding our business towards 4-wheeler (4W) with the advantage of our company’s specialty products, and we have started supplying steering and door impact beam (DIB) parts. Additionally, in 2016, we entered the high-pressure tube (HPT) business for construction machinery OEMs.
In recent years, we have been promoting the development of difficult-to-make products of high-grade raw material (RM) among 4W parts and adding them to our product portfolio. Specifically, the points are as follows:
- In 2017: For the 4W business, we started a supply of stabilizer applications that converted solid tubes to hollow tubes for the first time in India.
- In 2018: Started SOP of torsion beams application for 4W suspensions.
- In 2023: We further expanded our product portfolio and started supplying axle housing tubes as 4W suspension.
Tube & Pipe India: Please tell us about your product portfolio and its application areas.
HY: Our product portfolio is categorized on the basis of our clientele sectors. We manufacture ERW and CDW tube applications for 4W OEMs, 2W OEMs, and construction machinery OEMs. Although the business started with FF for 2W, high-grade applications for 4W and HPT for construction machinery, which is gradually increasing, FF for 2W has about half of our total production, 40 percent for 4W, and the remaining 10 percent is for construction machinery. We offer a variety of applications like front fork (FF), door impact beam (DIB), stabilizer, steering shafts, and high-pressure tubes (HPT) to our customers.
For the 4W OEM sector, we offer a wide range of high-quality mechanical tube applications including steering systems (steering shaft and steering column, etc.); stabilizers (500MPa grade, etc.); supplying to major OEMs from solid to hollow (that is approximately 40 percent weight reduction); torsion beam (710MPa Grade, etc.); and DIB (980, 1470, 1570, 1765 MPa grade, etc.)
All the above applications have already been approved by major OEMs in the 4W/2W sector and are in mass production. As NSPI has vast experience & many achievements, we believe it can apply to new customers as well.
Tube & Pipe India: What is your company’s USP?
HY: NSPI’s USPs are its roots in Japan. 4M’s in NSPI, machine, method, and material originate from the parent company in Japan, NSC, and, as a man, Japanese managers are stationed full-time and take command of the manufacturing site.
NSC’s ERW pipe business has a history of more than 50 years and has provided the world’s highest quality steel tubes to Japanese OEMs and Tier-1s. NSPI can procure high-grade RM from Japan and supply difficult-to-make products that are required high safety performance. We also have deep connections with our parent company, which enables us to develop products based on consistent quality control of materials and customer needs. On the other hand, the NSC Group also owns a related steel plant in India and can respond to customers’ needs for local procurement of base material coils. Taking advantage of these USPs, It is our mission to contribute to the Indian industry by transferring the most advanced technology from Japan to India.
Tube & Pipe India: Brief us about your manufacturing facilities and production capacities, infrastructure setup, plants, and machinery.
HY: Our manufacturing plant is based in Neemrana. Our plant houses an ERW mill, draw bench, furnaces, cutting machines, quenching and tempering machines, and UST. Our main machines and equipment are of Japanese make and technology. It has a manufacturing capacity of 2,400 MTPM and has sufficient capacity to meet our customers’ requirements.
Tube & Pipe India: Can you elaborate on the global and Indian market trends of the tubes & pipes industry? Which trends do you identify emerging as drivers of industrial growth in the future?
HY: The Indian market will grow continuously and significantly, and will undergo some structural changes, like an increase in large-size vehicles along with the growing need for safety and environmental measures. In the 4W sector, the recovery is and shall remain, stable post-pandemic. There has been a structural shift, as big vehicular model (C segment, SUVs, etc.) sales have increased. This trend applies not only to Japanese 4W OEMs but also to non-Japanese 4W OEMs. India’s 4W passenger car production recorded about 4.6 MU in FY 2022-23 and is expected up to 7 MU in FY 2030-31. In the 2W sector, the recovery post-pandemic has been weak, especially in rural areas due to high inflation, high interest rates, etc.
Though, we are expecting a stable recovery from FY23 onwards at a 4 percent YoY compounded annual growth rate (CAGR).
In India, EVs will bring big changes to automotive manufacturers and their entire supply chains. The lightweight structure will emerge as a major theme, as the lighter the vehicle, the less energy it needs, which increases the range, crucial for EVs. This trend will lead to changes in requirements for tube bending, with a growing need for compact yet high-performance components, especially thin-walled tubes made from high-strength materials. The lightweight structure increasingly requires complex, asymmetrical shapes with diverse cross sections. In this trend, we are confident that there will be more fields where NSPI can provide value.
NSPI’s strengths include high-grade RM procurement capabilities, integrated quality control from RM to pipe manufacturing, and superiority in product development capabilities, mainly high-grade products. We plan to receive new orders for high-end products that are difficult to manufacture by other companies.
Tube & Pipe India: What are Nippon Steel Pipe India’s plans for the future?
HY: NSPI is aiming for growth by manufacturing capacity expansion for high-grade items to meet demands from the 2W, 4W, and HPT markets. We will upgrade our product portfolio and aim to further shift orders to high-grade products. EVs also have high potential and we are looking forward to the growth and entry of the EV market. The EV market has a great opportunity for us, as we can meet the demand for lightweight, high-strength tubes. We are working towards the development of high-grade products for Indian Automotive market considering the weight reduction as an important future automotive industry requirement especially for EV segment vehicles. At the same time, we will also focus on utilizing local materials in order to meet the ‘Make in India’ demands of each customer. For that, we plan to promote the localization of base material coils in close cooperation with AM/NS India which is a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and NSC.