Toray Industries, Inc. (head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Akihiro Nikkaku; hereinafter referred to as “Toray”) today announced that it decided to enhance the production capacity of polyolefin foam TORAYPEF™. It will add a production facility with a capacity of about 2,000 tons a year at its Shiga Plant (Otsu, Shiga Prefecture), which will start operation in October 2019. The move will expand the Toray Group’s TORAYPEF™ production capacity around the world to 13,000 tons a year.
TORAYPEF™ is a lightweight, highly moldable polyolefin foam having heat-insulating, shock-absorbing and non-water-absorbency properties. Its stable quality and moldablility enabled by Toray’s proprietary foaming method has led to the material being adopted for various applications such as electronic instrument components, insulation materials for electric appliances and cushions used for housing and civil engineering purposes. In particular, its use in automotive interior trim has been rapidly increasing in recent years.
In today’s automobile industry, the demand for the flexible polypropylene foam used for interior components is expanding, as its feeling delivers improved comfort. In the U.S., automobile manufacturers focus on luxury interior materials in their strategies to differentiate between models, and they have been increasingly adopting TORAYPEF™ for soft interior materials such as door panels and instrument panel materials.
The trend of luxurious and soft car interiors has also spread to Japan and China. In addition to the increase in the number of models and parts that feature such materials, the number of models using foam materials is expected to rise, especially among SUV models, whose production is estimated to increase in China, as the models become more luxurious as in the U.S. market.
Toray has manufacturing and distribution functions for TORAYPEF™ in Japan as well as in the U.S. at its subsidiary of Toray Plastics (America), Inc. (head office: Rhode Island, U.S.; President: Michael F. Brandmeier; hereinafter referred to as “TPA”), and the Japanese and U.S. counterparts cooperate in the operation of the business. TPA has completed the enhancement of production capacity and the new facility has been operating since February 2018.
The production capacity enhancement in Japan is aimed at responding to the expansion in demand in automobile interior applications in Asia and the robust demand in various applications in Japan. Toray aims to fulfill its responsibility of stable supply in the Asian market including Japan and China and further expand the business.