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  ICBTT2004 Technology & Society Division, JSME

Junkers High pressure Air Compressor-A Case of Technology Transfer through the Imperial Japanese Navy

Morio NAKAHARA* and Hiroyuki KOHAMA**

* Formerly Kobe Steel, Ltd. Ryoudocho 2-19-716, Nishinomiya, Hyogo, 662-0841, Japan
** Formerly Kobe Steel, Ltd. Suminodo1-1-10, Daito, Osaka, 574-0026, Japan

High pressure air compressors consisted of an opposed piston two strokes Diesel driving reciprocating multi-stage compressors, were developed by Junkers AG in Germany around 1935. It was introduced to Japan by the Imperial Japanese Navy for generating high pressure air to launch torpedoes and to produce oxygen for propulsion agent of torpedoes. Kobe Steel, Ltd. and Mitsui Seiki, Ltd. were appointed by the Navy to be their manufacturers under license of Junkers. The contract was made and actual machineries were imported. After it was adopted officially by the Navy, some hundreds of units were manufactured and supplied to the Navy for military use. The application of the compressor was later widened to lower pressure for general purpose, and manufacturing and supplying to open customers continued nearly 20 years. The history was traced inside of Kobe Steel, Ltd. and reported.

Key Words: Free Piston High pressure Compressors, The Imperial Japanese Navy, Kobe Steel, Ltd.