Hexcel (Stamford, CT, US) hosted on May 21 a ceremony in Roussillon, France, where it will invest $250 million in the construction of a carbon fiber plant. Hexcel presented plans for the new facility to local dignitaries, customers, media representatives and Hexcel employees.
Hexcel’s new carbon fiber facility will occupy a 37-acre site at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform in Roussillon and will include polymerization and carbonization lines. The plant is part of Hexcel’s ongoing worldwide investment to create a diversified and robust supply chain to support aerospace customers’ growing demand for carbon fiber composites.
Carbon fiber from the new plant will be supplied to Hexcel customers including Airbus for the A350 XWB and Safran for the CFM LEAP engine. Construction of the new plant will begin by September 2015 and is expected to employ 120 people when fully operational in early 2018. Today Hexcel employs close to 1,000 people in France.
The Roussillon facility is located close to Hexcel’s weaving and prepreg manufacturing facilities near Lyon. At the event, Nick Stanage, Hexcel chairman, CEO and president, announced further investments totaling $22 million at these existing facilities, including capacity expansions at Hexcel’s carbon fiber weaving plant at Les Avenières, and an additional resin impregnation line in Dagneux, Montluel. These additional investments are expected to create 100 more jobs by 2018.
Stanage presided over the event with the support of André Vallini, French Secretary of State for Territorial Reform and Didier Evrard, Airbus EVP and head of programs. Stanage said, “Together with our capacity expansions in the U.S., this new facility in France will strengthen our global supply chain by adding precursor and additional carbon fiber capacity in Europe.”
Evrard commented: “We are delighted by Hexcel's decision to build this new carbon fiber plant in Europe. This significant investment will further secure the A350 XWB production ramp-up and demonstrates the high level of Hexcel’s commitment to the success of the A350 XWB program.”
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The teams are still working on the design but the aircraft is expected to have a wingspan of about 3 feet and will be made of double ply, carbon fiber.