Japan's Kubota uncovers 5 years of falsified rolling mill roll data.
Tokyo, Japan September 13, 2018 – Japanese machinery producer Kubota Corp. announced Wednesday it has detected falsified inspection data for rolling mill rolls supplied to steel producers over the past five years.
The company said it had delivered 21,035 units of rolling mill rolls to 85 customers globally between October 2013 and July 2018, and has recently confirmed hardness specifications were faked for 3,512 units or 16.7% of the total, and composition specifications for 121 units or 0.6%. Differing metallographic structure micrograph results were also detected for 765 units or 3.6%.
The company said it launched an immediate internal investigation when the issue was detected by an employee on July 25. It reported the result of its probe to the company president on August 9, and an external law firm then launched an investigation. On August 28 Kubota began briefing its customers.
It provided a preliminary report of its actions to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Tuesday.
Kubota said the legal investigation was continuing, and the outcome was expected to be announced soon. Once all the facts were clear, the company said it would implement preventative measures and strive to recover the trust of its customers.
No safety or quality incidents in customer production processes have been reported, it said.
Kubota said there are no official standards for rolling mill rolls, with the specifications for each sale based on agreements with each customer.
A spokeswoman for Japan's largest integrated mill, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, said the company had received affected rolls from Kubota, but had confirmed there was no problem with the products produced from those rolls, as it conducts internal quality checks on all its output before delivering to customers.
Kubota supplies about 35% of Japan's rolling mill roll market and 2-3% of the global market.