Toray Industries, Inc. will increase the large tow carbon fiber production capacity at its U.S.-based subsidiary, Zoltek Companies, Inc.
The company is planning to increase the production capacity at Zoltek’s Hungarian plant located in Nyergesújfalu by 50% from 10,000 to 15,000 ton/year. Entire investments will exceed US$130 million, and production is scheduled to start in early 2020.
Zoltek is currently implementing enhancements to equipment to raise the capacity of its Mexican plant from 5,000 to 10,000 ton/year. Once the current enhancements at the Hungarian facility are completed, Zoltek’s total production capacity will reach approximately 25,000 ton/year.
Demand for large tow carbon fiber is rapidly growing for industrial applications. Demand for wind energy turbine blades, the main application of Zoltek’s large tow carbon fiber, is expanding in South America as well as in Asia, particularly China and India. Furthermore, due to the large size of turbines, demand for large tow carbon fiber is expected to grow, and this is likely to result in further expansion. In Europe where the use of carbon fiber for automotive structural applications is taking precedent, Zoltek has established a timely supply chain from its Hungarian plant. By rapidly responding to future demand increases, the Toray Group including Zoltek aims to become the global standard for automotive structural applications.
Zoltek will continue to enhance carbon fiber production equipment at its Hungarian and Mexican plants to keep reigning as the world’s number one supplier of large tow carbon fiber.
In its medium-term management project Project AP-G 2019, Toray positions its carbon fiber composite material business as a strategically expanding venture, and plans to proceed with business expansion by actively introducing managerial resources. Toray will focus on expanding in areas that can demonstrate its respective strengths with regular tow and large tow carbon fibers, with an aim at further expansion of business by developing “synergistic effect” opportunities that take advantage of the merits of both products.