Vestas names Zoltek supplier of the year

Carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek has helped make Vestas Blades one of the largest carbon fiber consumers in the world.

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Zoltek Companies Inc. (St. Louis, Mo.) announced on March 9 that it has been named 2009 Supplier of the Year by Vestas Blades A/S, the blade manufacturing division of Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Randers, Denmark).

Accepting the award at the Vestas annual supplier conference, Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek chairman and CEO, said, "Vestas is the leading company in the wind turbine business, creating a new generation of more powerful and efficient wind turbines with blades utilizing carbon fibers for the main structural components. In doing so, Vestas has become the largest user of carbon fibers in the world and we are proud to be their primary supplier and of the role that we have played in supporting this development."

While the properties of carbon fiber as a key enabling material "have been well known for many years in the aerospace industry," Rumy pointed out that it is only within the last decade that other industries have embraced carbon fibers, owing mostly to concerns that the material could not be produced in adequate quantities or at a known and affordable cost to support large applications outside of the aerospace industry. According to Rumy, overcoming those concerns — through the commercialization of carbon fibers as an everyday building material — has been Zoltek's mission for more than a decade.

"Vestas trusted us on our ability to deliver on our promises at an early stage of Zoltek's development when the concept of carbon fibers as a low-cost, high-performance building material was still unproven," Rumy said. "We are grateful for that, and for the chance to share in the huge success that Vestas has enjoyed as the leader in global wind energy. Vestas is now our biggest single customer. We are committed to participate in and support Vestas' Triple 15 strategic plan by continued expansion of our capacity to keep up with their demand, by the implementation of a new just-in-time inventory system to reduce their carrying costs, by continued quality improvements and by continued productivity improvements. We look forward to the continuation of what we regard as a great partnership."