Feb. 19, 2008
Toray to Expand Production Capacity of PAN-based Carbon Fiber TORAYCA® in Ehime Plant
— Total investment to reach ¥16 billion
Toray Industries, Inc. (headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; president: Sadayuki Sakakibara) today announced that it will expand its capacity to produce the PAN-based carbon fiber TORAYCA®. The company will add to its Ehime Plant (Masaki-cho, Ehime Prefecture) an additional carbonization facility for special thin carbon fibers for industrial use having an annual production capacity of 1,000 tons. This new facility is scheduled to begin operation in July 2009. The company’s recently adopted capacity-expansion plan involves a total investment of approximately ¥16 billion, including funds for the addition of a PAN precursor production facility and a carbon-fiber carbonization facility, as well as plant-site preparation. The planned expansion of capacity will increase the Ehime Plant’s annual carbon-fiber production capacity from its present 7,300 tons to 8,300 tons, with the Toray Group’s total annual production capacity being expanded from its present 14,300 tons to 18,900 tons.
Under Toray’s capacity-expansion plan, the new facility will include a production line for special thin carbon fibers (very-fine carbon fibers made up of 3,000 or 6,000 single threads) used for industrial purposes. Thin carbon fibers are characterized by good moldability that only fine fibers can deliver and that makes them suitable for use in automotive parts, bicycle frames, and industrial robots, which have to meet sophisticated and complicated design requirements. They are also used in secondary structural elements for aircrafts, such as main rotor blades, flaps, and spoilers. At present, thin carbon fibers are experiencing a rapid increase in demand for industrial applications in which environment, safety, and energy are three of the most favored keywords. In the aircraft market, the supply-and-demand situation for thin carbon fibers has been increasingly strained as the two manufacturing giants Boeing and Airbus have launched their own new passenger-aircraft programs in earnest. Toray’s recent planned expansion of capacity is intended to provide a steady supply of thin carbon fibers in order to meet the expanding demand for thin carbon fibers for aircraft. In addition, the company has launched a program to install at the Ehime Plant both a production line for a medium-elasticity, high-strength carbon fiber for primary structural elements for aircrafts and a new large facility to produce carbon fiber for general industrial use.
The worldwide demand in 2007 for PAN-based carbon fibers is estimated to have been about 35,000 tons, and the demand is expected to expand at an annual rate of 15% or more in the years ahead and to reach close to 53,000 tons per annual in 2010. As a quick response to the full-scale expansion of the carbon fiber market, Toray will continue to expand its production capacity, so as to create an optimum supply system in order to meet further expansion of demand from such business segments as aerospace, sports, and general industry.
Toray, while aiming to transform the company into a highly profitable company under its medium-term business objective “Project Innovation TORAY 2010” (IT-2010), is making proactive investments to increase its production of carbon-fiber composite materials, which is one of its strategically expanding businesses. In addition to expanding the Toray group’s production capacity of carbon fibers to 25,000 tons a year by the end of 2010, the company will promote and strengthen the deployment of a vertically integrated business structure covering carbon fibers, prepregs (intermediate base materials), and composites. Given the superiority in technology and product quality of TORAYCA®, which is the de facto industry standard, Toray, as the world’s number-one manufacturer of carbon-fiber composite materials, will strive to expand its business to achieve its goals for 2010 of a 38% share of the global market in terms of sales (34% in 2007) and ¥170 billion in consolidated sales.
<Toray Group’s Production Capacity of PAN-based Carbon Fibers> (tons/year)
|Current||Dec. 2008||July 2009||Change|
|Ehime Plant||7,300 tons||7,300 tons||8,300 tons||+1,000 tons|
|CFA (U.S.)||3,600 tons||5,400 tons||5,400 tons||–|
|SOFICAR (France)||3,400 tons||5,200 tons||5,200 tons||–|
|Group total||14,300 tons||17,900 tons||18,900 tons||+1,000 tons|