Steel supplier Qilin Iron Works plans to make a critical part of its equipment obsolete within the next 20 years, and it is the latest in a string of problems that have hit the company in recent years.
The Chinese-owned company plans to sell its titanium alloy components to a Chinese company that specializes in making titanium.
That company will then turn the steel into components for a new type of machine, which is the same as the kind that power plants use to produce electrical power.
Qilin, based in southern China, says it is facing increasing demand for the metal, which helps make steel more robust and corrosion resistant.
But it is already facing problems, with its production capacity dwindling as demand in the U.S. and elsewhere has soared.
The company has had trouble keeping up with demand and is losing customers.
In 2015, it had just 1,800 employees.
Last year, the company said it was losing more than 1,500 employees and had shut down its operations in Shenzhen, the country’s manufacturing hub, to reduce costs.
The factory in Shenzen is where the company makes its titanium and is now the focus of the company’s troubles.
Qildong Iron Works said in a statement on Thursday that it had made a series of “critical” changes to its titanium manufacturing process in recent months.
The changes include making the process less prone to contamination, as well as reducing the amount of time the metal is exposed to air.
The steel being manufactured is already used in power plants, so the changes would reduce the amount it is needed, said the statement.
Qilian said it is still in the process of getting the steel to a customer and that it expects the company will complete the first part of the upgrade before the end of the year.
It did not say how much the upgrade would cost.
Last week, a U.K. company announced plans to buy a smaller percentage of Qildong’s assets and to merge with it.
A similar deal between two Chinese steelmakers is also underway.