High-Performance Composites

NOV 2014

High-Performance Composites is read by qualified composites industry professionals in the fields of continuous carbon fiber and other high-performance composites as well as the associated end-markets of aerospace, military, and automotive.

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 | 1 7 T he worldwide demand for PAN-based carbon fbers ex- panded in 2013, exceeding 40,000 metric tonnes (88.184 million lb), and is expected to continue to grow at a rate in excess of 15 percent per year. Two of the world's most prolifc carbon fber producers have made signifcant announcements about new production facilities that will impact positively the supply of carbon fber. Toray Industries Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) announced on Sept. 29 that it and subsidiary Toray Carbon Fibers Europe SA (CFE, Abidos, France) held a ceremony on Sept. 26 to mark the com- pletion of its new polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor plant at CFE's Lacq, France, facility. The event was attended by about 230 guests, led by Japan's Ambassador to France, Yoichi Suzu- ki, and offcials from French government agencies and munici- palities as well as those representing the carbon fber industry. The new precursor plant is part of the Toray Group's invest- ment plan announced in March 2012, with the goal of expand- ing carbon fber production capacity at its four global produc- tion sites in Japan, the U.S., France and South Korea. The new CFE plant is the third precursor production base added to the Group's holdings, following previous openings of facilities in Japan and the U.S. The move enables CFE to move on to an integrated pro - duction regime, switching to precursor produced at its own plant instead of relying the on material imported from Japan. Local production of precursor is expected to boost the loca- tion's cost-competitiveness. CFE also will supply precursor to other Toray Group production bases, including Toray Advanced Material Korea Inc., contributing to the group-wide business expansion. Hexcel Corp. (Stamford, Conn.), for its part, announced on Sept. 30 that it will expand its carbon fber production capacity through the addition of new precursor and carbon fber lines in Roussillon, France. The $250 million (USD) investment will also include associated quality-control laboratories and offces. The new French plant will occupy a 37-acre site at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform in Roussillon, which is close to Hexcel's weaving and prepreg manufacturing facilities near Lyon. Carbon fber from the new plant will be supplied to Hexcel customers, including Airbus (Toulouse, France) for the A350 XWB and Safran (Paris, France) for the CFM LEAP en - gine. Construction of the new plant will begin by mid-2015 and it is expected to employ 120 people when fully operation - al in early 2018. Hexcel says the new facility is part of the company's ongo- ing worldwide investment to create a diversifed and robust global supply chain to support aerospace customers' grow- ing demand for carbon fber composites. In recent years, Hexcel has increased its precursor and carbon fber capaci- ties through targeted expansions at several existing facilities. Notably, Hexcel is investing in ongoing precursor and carbon fber expansions in the U.S. and is currently installing its resin mixing and flming technology – frst developed in Europe – in the U.S. as well. The new facility in France is the next step in support of European customers. Toray, Hexcel announce European carbon fber production expansions

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