May 7, 2015
Toray Industries, Inc.
Toray to Enhance Production Facilities of Large tow Carbon Fibers
Toray Industries, Inc. (headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Akihiro Nikkaku; hereinafter referred to as “Toray”) announced today that it has decided to enhance the production facilities for large tow*1 carbon fibers at Zoltek Companies, Inc. (headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.; President & CEO: Masahiko Kawamura; hereinafter referred to as “Zoltek”), a subsidiary in the U.S. Toray will double the production capacity of Zoltek’s Mexican plant (Jalisco, the United Mexican States) to 5,000 tons per year, starting in April 2016.
Zoltek is currently producing large tow carbon fibers at its plants in Hungary and Mexico. In addition to the rapidly growing demand for the product in the wind power generation application in recent years, it is expected that large tow carbon fibers will be used even more increasingly in automobile structures in the future, and the industry is expected to have a shortage of production capacity of the particular carbon fibers in early 2016. The production capacity enhancement announced this time is to respond to the shortage in production capacity for the time being, and Toray will pursue establishment of a more stable supply structure of large tow carbon fibers.
In response to the robust demand for large tow carbon fibers, Zoltek has a plan to raise its production capacity of the material by 100% by 2020 from the current 13,000 tons per year. Under the plan, it will continue to carry out capacity enhancement of the Mexican plant in a phased manner.
Zoltek entered into large tow carbon fiber business in 1988, and acquired textile acrylic fiber plants in Hungary and Mexico in 1996 and 2007 respectively, and it has been expanding the business by promoting development of large tow carbon fiber application and demand and pursuing thorough cost competitiveness. It became a member of the Toray Group in February 2014 and has been accelerating its business expansion as the world’s No. 1 company in the large low carbon fiber field.
Under the on-going medium-term management program Project AP-G 2016, Toray positions carbon fiber composite material business as one of the Strategically Expanding Businesses and has been expanding the business by proactively investing management resources. It will focus on expanding sales of regular low*2 and large tow carbon fibers in respective fields where the materials can demonstrate their strengths. It will also pursue synergies of the two fields by leveraging the strong points of the respective fields with the aim of further growing the business.
|*1||Large tow: Carbon fiber with 40,000 or more number of filaments, produced on modified acrylic staple fiber production line for textile. Relatively cheaper material, it is used in applications such as wind turbine blades and reinforced plastics compounds.|
|*2||Regular tow: Carbon fiber with 24,000 or less number of filaments, produced on specially designed equipment. It is used for high-end applications such as aircraft which require high performance and quality. |
|Profile of Zoltek Companies, Inc. (Zoltek) |
|production and distribution of large tow carbon fiber |
|St.Louis, Missouri, U.S.|
|1975 (*became a Toray subsidiary in February 2014)|
|Masahiko Kawamura, President & CEO |
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