787 fuels Toray expansion

Japan’s Toray Industries this week announced its decision to expand domestic production capacity of its PAN-based carbon fibre Torayca.


Japan’s Toray Industries this week announced its decision to expand domestic production capacity of its PolyAcryloNitrile (PAN)-based carbon fibre Torayca.



The company plans to add two integrated production lines for carbon fibre covering polymerisation, precursor spinning, and carbonisation, and one production line for prepreg (carbon fibre sheets impregnated with epoxy resin ) at its Ehime Plant in Masaki-cho, Iyo-gun, Ehime prefecture.



Toray will spend around $232 million (25.0 billion yen) on expanding its facilities, which are expected to start operating in January 2007.



Toray is expanding its Torayca production capacity in response to the growing demand for composite materials for Boeing’s new 787 passenger aircraft, which is scheduled to enter service in 2008.



As the sole supplier of Torayca prepreg for the 787, Toray plans to start full-scale supply of prepreg from its US production site in 2006. With this expansion, Toray aims to establish a “dual source” supply structure built around its production sites in Japan and the US.



In 2004 the demand for PAN-based carbon fibre was estimated to be about 22,000 tons. The demand is forecast to grow at an annual rate of more than 10% and is expected to exceed 30,000 tons in 2007.



Toray’s production capacity for carbon fibre will increase to 13,100 tons per year and prepreg production will expand to 22.2 million m2 per year by 2007. By 2010, Toray expects to have expanded its global share of carbon fibre to 40%, with sales in excess of 110 billion yen.