4M Industrial Oxidation LLC (Knoxville, TN, US), a subsidiary of Knoxville-based RMX Technologies, has signed a letter of intent with C.A. Litzler Co. (Cleveland, OH, US) to jointly commercialize the “world's first” 175-ton plasma oxidation oven for OPF and carbon fiber production. Matt Litzler, president of C.A. Litzler Co., is attending JEC World show in Paris this week to announce the partnership and is exhibiting at booth M32C.
"We have made great strides in the past few months and initiated fabrication of components for the first commercial scale oven,” Litzler said. “We believe we have a path to commercialization that will allow us to offer these plasma oxidation ovens to the industry. We now have requests for three quotes."
"We have been working with Matt and his team for a year to develop the design and are excited about the progress we have made to effectively scale the plasma technology,” said Rodney Grubb, RMX president.
Truman Bonds, RMX's vice president for development and research, said, "The ability to focus on the integration of the plasma components and operating system while the Litzler technical team deals with the oven design, fiber handling, environmental elements, and balance of plant has been extremely valuable in moving the design and construction forward in the past six months."
The companies made the claim that the “patented 4M plasma-oxidation process will be key in the worldwide carbon fiber market expansion from 83,000 metric tons of carbon fiber per year to over 219,000 tons per year from 2015 to 2024.” It reportedly operates more than three times faster than current commercial technology and uses less than 25% of the energy per pound of fiber. 4M says it has successfully tested for four carbon fiber makers and demonstrated quality fiber, increased throughput and significant energy reduction benefits. Plasma oxidation has also demonstrated improvement in the fiber quality versus conventional processing, the companies said.