Jun 27, 2016
Increase in Production Capacity of the Carbon Fiber Plant at Otake Production Center
Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Hitoshi Ochi, hereinafter “MRC”) will carry out additional capital investments in their Otake Production Center (Otake-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture) to increase large-tow carbon fiber capacity from the present 2,700 tons per year to 3,900 tons. The new facility is expected to commence operation second quarter (July-September) FY2017.
Combined with the increase in production capacity of MRC’s regular tow carbon fiber plant in Sacramento, USA, operation commencing third quarter (October – December) FY 2016, the company’s total carbon fiber production capacity will increase by approx. 30%, from 10,100 tons to 13,300 tons per year.
Increase in the adoption of large tow carbon fiber for industrial applications
MRC has developed “high-performance large tow,” a unique carbon fiber that supports high productivity in the molding of large components whilst exhibiting the physical and quality properties equivalent to regular-tow carbon fibers. It has been cultivating applications in fields such as the aircraft industry and compressed gas tanks since the launch of operation in Otake in July 2011. It is the world’s first large tow to be adopted for aircraft flooring (Airbus’ A320neo). The product has been gaining market recognition and high–end applications are rapidly increasing.
Lately, especially in wind turbine blades, the consumption of large tow has increased. High-performance large tow is regarded as the optimal material replacing glass to dramatically reduce weight but moreover in enabling the longer, slender blade designs required for off-shore turbines and for the development of low-wind-speed sites onshore.
This strong demand for wind applications ensures the high utilization of MRC’s production facilities. Recent increased demand for various intermediate materials using high-performance large tow such as weight-reducing materials for automobiles has encouraged the decision to increase production capacity. With this capacity increase, the Carbon Fiber Plant at Otake Production Center will be the world’s largest single manufacturing line to produce carbon fibers.
Targets and initiatives for growth in the medium-term management plan
In Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group’s medium-term management plan APTSIS 20, MRC set the target to achieve 100 billion yen sales by 2020 in the carbon fiber and composite materials business. It plans to capture the growth in automotive and other industrial applications, leveraging the advantage of the high-performance large tow to the maximum extent by collaborating with the development and manufacturing entities for intermediate and molding material CFRP in Europe, North America, Asia and Japan. Furthermore, MRC’s integration with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and Mitsubishi Plastics, Inc. to be implemented in April 2017 will increase synergy effects with its subsidiaries including the European based Quadrant, who is strong in the automotive field. The company will continue to establish its presence in the European market as a carbon fiber and composite materials supplier.