7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
Changsha, Hunan, China

7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

8th Magnesium Summit

April 11-12, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

12th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 14-15, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

6th World Manganese & Selenium Forum

May 21-22, 2018
Hainan Sanya, China

6th World Antimony Forum

April 23-24, 2018
Zhangjiajie, China

6th International Refractories & Abrasives Summit

April 19-20, 2018
Beijing, China
Seek more developments through the innovation under challenges
----Interview with Nori Nishikawa
Senior engineer, Deputy Director of Marketing
Sichuan Shen Gong Carbide Knives Co., Ltd.
Sichuan Shen Gong Carbide Knives Co., Ltd. is located in Sichuan Province, Chengdu City, in the southwest airport development zone Shuangliu. It developed from its predecessor Chengdu Siruite Carbide Knives Co. Ltd. to its current form and now covers 29,000㎡ (building area is about 25,000㎡) and employs 300 people in total. The company boasts an integral production line ranging from WCP preparation to finished carbide knives/blades. Their machine park features more than 500 machines.

Asian Metal: Good afternoon, Mr. Nori Nishikawa. Thank you for your time to accept our interview. Would you please introduce your company?

Nori Nishikawa: With more than 20 years of experience in the production of tungsten carbide cutting and slitting knives/blades, our company specializes in corrugated board cutting blades and other circular blades. More than half of our products are used in the overseas markets. Our corrugated board cutting blades of our brand "Jingrui" won the "Technologies Innovation Awards" of Sichuan Province. Our "SRT" (Shen Gong Royal T) blades used for cutting lithium battery poles as well as our industrial blades are leading both in the domestic and global markets. Shen Gong qualities meet highest standards and requirements.
We want to prove that as a Chinese manufacturer, we are a quality maker of the 21st century with excellent products, just-in-time deliveries and great customer service. We believe in product development, sustainability, eco-friendly production and long-term customer relationships.

Asian Metal: As the tungsten market was stagnant in the last five months, could you please discuss about the downstream demand for cemented carbide cutting tools recently? Which kind of products you think will have better prospects?

Nori Nishikawa: Since tungsten price is settled at lower price, most of cutting tool manufacturers are fine to make any geometries of cutting tool inserts with lower cost. However, in future if the price goes up again, they need to consider replacing metal binder with other metal like nickel, instead of cobalt.
Also, they are considering to expand their business with other material grades, such as ceramics, silicon nitride, cermet and so on which do not use tungsten carbide. Turning inserts and milling inserts are very popular items for cuttings tools, but now, some multi-purposed inserts with function of turning, milling, and grooving, will be more popular in the future.

Asian Metal: As we know, many Japanese companies have decreased the import volume for tungsten products, and could you please briefly introduce the Japanese tungsten market so far this year?

Nori Nishikawa: By predicting Japanese market, we need to consider three main issues. The first is trade war for automotive and agricultural products against USA, the second is that Japanese government debt is highest ever, and the third is labor shortage due to less young generation’s population. According to these issues, most of economists predict our economy growth will be less than 1.0 % this year, along with consumption tax increase from 8% to 10% within this year announced by government to increase tax income due to labor shortage.

Asian Metal: Could you please introduce some new technologies on cemented carbide you have researched? What are their advantages?

Nori Nishikawa: Our engineer team is always striving better way to improve static/physical properties of cemented carbide grades we produce. We are searching mainly for metal binders including not only nickel and cobalt, but also other metals. And another issue will be the grain sizes of tungsten carbide as raw material. It is hard for any tungsten carbide manufacturers to keep certain hardness with fracture toughness or transverse rapture strength, but we are trying to find some ways to reach this goal, by combining other carbide materials.

Asian Metal: What time do you think the tungsten market can recover this year? Does the soft demand has influenced the cutting tool industries?

Nori Nishikawa: By looking at past APT Trends, there were some up and down trends continuously, and I believe it will be downtrend towards the end of this year, taking into consideration tariff war between China and USA. If both countries can find some better ways to resolve all the issues by the end of this year, it may be uptrend but not much. As you know, majority of cutting tool business rely on automotive industries. In order to produce one gasoline automotive, there are more than 20,000 metal parts to be finish-cut with cutting tools. On the other hand, in automotive market, there is an emerging hybrid trend since electric and hydrogen gas powered vehicles are getting popular. Parts needed to produce these new technology vehicles will be drastically reduced by half, and this indicates in next 50 years, the demand for cutting tools will be decreased. This is just my opinion.

Asian Metal: Does your company have new plans in the future or which field will you pay more attention?

Nori Nishikawa: Our main target industries are corrugated card board paper industry and lithium ion battery film industry, since our main products are round cutting and slicing blades. Just like what I mentioned, we are always striving for better quality, delivery and technologies, and we may need to find some other industries in future not only for Chinese domestic market but also for other areas in world to expand our sales for other applications.
My team also has some functions of research and development, so we have developed some of new grades, including the cermet materials we developed this year, which are used in industrial cutting blades. And we hope to get a good response in the market.

Asian Metal: Thanks again for taking our interview. Wish your company better and better.

Nori Nishikawa: You are very welcome. If you have any chance to visit Chengdu, Sichuan in near future, you and your company are always welcomed to knock on our door at any time. Good Luck to you, also!