Hexcel Corp. (Dublin, Calif.) on April 29 opened its first European carbon fiber plant at a special ceremony attended by more than 200 people. The new plant, located at Illescas near Toledo, is the first ever plant to manufacture carbon fiber in Spain.
The new Hexcel plant was opened by the regional president of Castilla La Mancha, Excelent'simo SeÃ±or Don Jose Maria Barreda, in the presence of Dave Berges, Hexcel chairman and CEO and Bill Hunt, Hexcel president. Among the attendees were representatives from the neighboring Airbus plant that will be a major customer for the HexTow carbon fibers made at the new facility. Other attendees included customers from the aerospace and composites industry, local dignitaries and regional representatives.
After touring the new plant, attendees listened to speeches by Dave Berges, Excelent'simo SeÃ±or Don Jose Maria Barreda, Andrea Domenichini, Hexcel's VP Operations and Ilustr'simo SeÃ±or D. Jose Manuel TofiÃ±o, the mayor of Illescas.
In his opening address, Berges said, "We are very honored to be opening Hexcel's new carbon fiber plant in Castilla La Mancha. This is the first ever carbon fiber facility to be built in Spain â€“ and is the first for Hexcel in Europe. It is a key part of Hexcel's ongoing investment to increase carbon fiber capacity worldwide.
"We are passionate about carbon fiber and carbon fiber reinforced prepregs here at Hexcel. That's why we embarked on a $280 million investment program to boost our carbon fiber capacity to 7,000 tons both in Europe and the USA by the end of 2009. The extra capacity is essential to meet the growing use of carbon fiber composites in both commercial and military aircraft as well as selected industrial applications.
"I wish to thank the Hexcel project team and our suppliers for their outstanding support in seeing this project through, on schedule. They have created a state of the art carbon fiber manufacturing facility that will support the future of the European aerospace industry.
The new Illescas plant is close to Hexcel's established plant located in Parla, near Madrid. The Parla plant will convert carbon fiber from Illescas into prepregs for use on the A320/A330 horizontal empennage and A380 rear fuselage section.