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  • Tanaka Precious Metals Establishes Mass Production System for Textured Cu Metal Substrates Using YBCO Superconducting Wire

    Published on April 7, 2015

    TOKYO :  Tanaka Holdings Co., Ltd. (Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director & CEO: Akira Tanae) today announced that Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K. (Head office: Tanaka Holdings CoChiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director & CEO: Akira Tanae) has constructed exclusive production lines for textured Cu metal substrates for YBCO superconducting wire (*1) and has established mass production systems for use starting April 2015.

    In October 2008, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo together with Chubu Electric Power and Kagoshima University jointly developed the first ever textured Cu metal substrates using superconducting wire. Production began and samples were distributed from December of the same year. This superconducting wire replaces the use of Ni alloys (nickel and tungsten alloys), which were formerly the primary materials for textured metal substrates, with low-cost and high orientation (*2) copper, thereby reducing costs by more than 50%. One of the weaknesses of copper is its susceptibility to oxidation, which can cause the thin film (superconducting wire or oxide buffer layer) formed on the substrate to become detached. However, the orientation and the surface smoothness is increased through the use of a special nickel plating solution that contains palladium as the oxygen metal barrier layer, which improves the deposition stability of the thin film on the substrate.

    Since samples of the textured Cu substrates were first sent out, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo has continued to carry out research to verify deposition stability. The production of elongated substrates has now become possible through the optimization of equipment conditions. In order to respond to domestic and international demand immediately, an exclusive production line was constructed at a company-owned plant in April 2015. It is expected that this technology will be put to use in various other fields in the future including long-distance and high-capacity electricity supply cables, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), which require high magnetic fields, and motors for large ships. Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo is aiming to achieve annual sales of 1.2 billion yen by the year 2020.