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Aircon firms hit by Kobe Steel scandal

JAPAN: Air conditioning manufacturers Daikin and Panasonic have been caught up in the scandal enveloping Kobe Steel and the admission that it falsified the product specifications of its aluminium and copper.

On Sunday Kobe Steel announced that it had discovered that some of its aluminium and copper did not comply with the quoted product specifications. Data in inspection certificates had been improperly rewritten, and the products were shipped as having met the specifications concerned, it said.

Daikin and Panasonic are among about 200 well-known companies, including Toyota, Central Japan Railway, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mazda and Subaru, thought to be affected.

Daikin revealed that aluminium and copper products that altered the performance data were used for some models of air conditioners being produced but said that all the air conditioners sold have passed pre-shipment inspections.

Panasonic also purchased aluminium products from Kobe Steel, but said that the quantity and the presence or absence of data alteration are being confirmed.

Kobe Steel says the falsification came to light following self-inspections and emergency quality audits of the compliance status of products shipped between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017. It included about 19,300 tons of aluminium products (flat rolled, extrusions), 2,200 tons of copper strips and tubes, and 19,400 aluminium castings and forgings. Initial investigations suggest the falsification may have started 10 years ago.

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