Toray expands U.S. prepreg capacity

Toray Composites (America) Inc. will expand capacity of TORAYCA prepreg at its Tacoma, Wash., USA, location to meet demand for anticipated rate production increase of the Boeing 787 aircraft.

Toray Industries Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) announced on Jan. 27 that it is expanding production of its carbon fiber TORAYCA prepreg at its U.S. subsidiary Toray Composites (America) Inc. (TCA, Tacoma, Wash., USA). Toray says it plans to introduce a high­-performance facility suitable for producing high ­value added prepreg for aircraft and automobile applications. The new facility is expected to start production in January 2016.

TCA produces TORAYCA prepreg mainly for aerospace and automobile applications for the U.S. market. Its existing production facilities have been operating at full capacity, following the increase of the monthly assembly rate of the Boeing 787 to 10 in November 2013.

The production facility enhancement at TCA is in response to Boeing's decision in October 2013 to increase the 787 assembly rate to 12 in 2016 from the current. The goal, says Toray, is to achieve a stable supply of TORAYCA prepreg for 787 aircraft by obtaining production line qualification by Boeing.

Toray Group is currently constructing a second production line at its Ishikawa Plant in Japan for TORAYCA prepreg for industrial applications such as chassis for IT devices and automobile outer panels (hood, roof, etc.) that require high-quality stability. This facility is expected to start production in February 2015. In addition, the Toray in December 2013 shipped prepreg for 787 aircraft for the first time from Ishikawa Plant, also as part of the moves to enhance the TORAYCA prepreg supply network and to actively pursue higher added values of the products at the three production bases, including the Ehime Plant.

With the expansion of facilities at TCA, Toray will not only be able to fully meet the demand from increased production of the 787, but also further strengthen the supply structure for TORAYCA®prepreg to cater to the high value­ added products market, where demand is expected to increase more in the future.