Hexcel Corp. (Stamford, Conn., USA) announced on Sept. 30 that it will expand its carbon fiber production capacity through the addition of new precursor and carbon fiber lines in Roussillon, France. The $250 million investment will also include associated quality control laboratories and offices.
The new French plant will occupy a 37-acre site at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform in Roussillon, which is close to Hexcel’s weaving and prepreg manufacturing facilities near Lyon. 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 mid-2015 and it is expected to employ 120 people when fully operational in early 2018.
Hexcel says the new facility is part of the company's ongoing worldwide investment to create a diversified and robust global supply chain to support aerospace customers’ growing demand for carbon fiber composites. In recent years Hexcel has increased its precursor and carbon fiber capacities through targeted expansions at existing facilities. Notably, Hexcel is investing in ongoing precursor and carbon fiber expansions at its U.S. facilities and is currently installing its resin mixing and filming technology – first developed in Europe – in the U.S. The new facility in France is the next step in support of European customers.
Hexcel’s Chairman, CEO and president, Nick Stanage, says, “I am delighted to announce Hexcel’s investment in our first precursor plant in Europe and our first carbon fiber capacity in France. The state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that we will build demonstrate our commitment to technology expansion around the world to provide an efficient global supply chain in support of customer programs. The new plant will further strengthen our customer relationships, provide greater opportunities for aerospace industry growth and reinforce Hexcel’s position as a global leader in carbon fiber composites.”
Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO welcomed the announcement, commenting, “We applaud Hexcel’s decision to build a precursor and carbon fiber plant in France, demonstrating a strong, ongoing commitment to meet the growing demand for carbon fiber composites in the aerospace industry. This decision supports Airbus requirements for A350 XWB composite primary structures and underlines the strong partnership between Airbus and Hexcel.”