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U. S. Steel and Kobe Steel Sign Cooperative R&D Agreement For Automotive Steel Sheet Technology


U. S. Steel Group (NYSE: X), a unit of USX Corporation and Kobe Steel, Ltd. today announced that they have signed a cooperative agreement for research and development (R&D) in the field of automotive steel sheet technology.

The alliance is expected to enhance the technical presence and capabilities of U. S. Steel and Kobe Steel among automakers in the United States, Japan and Europe. It responds to the ever-expanding worldwide demand for new and improved steel sheet products and sheet product technologies for innovative automotive applications.

Under the agreement, the two companies plan to conduct joint research and development on high tensile steel sheet along with advanced processing technologies for the automotive market. The work will be conducted primarily at U. S. Steel's research facility in Monroeville, Pennsylvania and Kobe's research facility in Kakogawa, Japan.

"This cooperative R&D agreement grew out of the strong performance of PRO-TEC Coating Company, our highly successful joint venture with Kobe Steel," said Paul J. Wilhelm, president of U. S. Steel Group. "We are delighted to have the opportunity to build on our excellent relationship with Kobe Steel."

In 1997, Kobe Steel transferred technology for 60 kgf/mm2 high tensile steel -- highly valued by automakers -- to PRO-TEC and U. S. Steel. The technology was adapted by U. S. Steel personnel to facilitate production at its steelmaking and rolling facilities as well as the PRO-TEC coating operation. As a result, PRO-TEC, which was formed in 1990 to supply coated steel sheet to U.S. automakers, is the leading American producer of 60 kgf/mm2 high tensile galvanized steel sheet.

In Japan, domestic automobile manufacturers have given such high evaluations to Kobe Steel's high tensile steel that the company is now synonymous with this product. U. S. Steel, in addition to its diverse product and research capabilities, has a state-of-the-art automotive product application and steel testing center located in Troy, Michigan -- near Detroit.

Owing to these successes, the two companies decided to form the cooperative R&D agreement to go beyond a single specialized product and to implement technological developments in quality-critical automotive applications on a broader and more cost-effective basis. New areas of joint R&D collaboration under the agreement may include such areas as ultra high tensile steel sheet, hydroforming, tailored blanks and sheet process simulations.

The agreement also provides for increased technical exchanges between the two companies and facilitates additional technology transfers. Its intent is to allow U. S. Steel and Kobe Steel to further expand their value added products and more effectively serve the automotive marketplace.

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SOURCE: U.S. Steel Group

Contact: Thomas R. Ferrall, 412-433-6899 or Michael R. Dixon,
412-433-6860, both of U. S. Steel; or Gary I. Tsuchida of Kobe Steel,




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