Toray opens carbon fiber precursor facility in France

Toray Carbon Fiber Europe S.A. officially opens its new polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor plant in Lacq, France.

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Toray Industries Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) announced on Sept. 29 that it and subsidiary Toray Carbon Fibers Europe S.A. (CFE, Abidos, France) on Sept. 26 held a ceremony to mark the completion of construction of the new polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor plant at CFE's Lacq, France, facility.

The ceremony was attended by about 230 guests led by Japanese Ambassador to France Yoichi Suzuki and officials from French government agencies and municipalities as well as those representing the carbon fiber industry.

The completed precursor plant is part of Toray Group's investment plan announced in March 2012 to expand carbon fiber production capacity at its four global production sites in Japan, the U.S., France and South Korea. The new CFE plant is the third precursor production base in the Group following the opening of facilities in Japan and the U.S. It enables CFE to move on to an integrated production, switching to precursor produced at its own plant from the material imported from Japan, which will boost its cost competitiveness.

CFE will also supply various Toray Group production bases including Toray Advanced Material Korea Inc., contributing to the group-wide business expansion. The worldwide demand for PAN-based carbon fibers expanded to exceed about 40,000 tons in 2013 and is expected to continue to grow at a rate exceeding 15 percent a year.

Toray Group says it aims to further expand its carbon fiber composite material business through active investment of management resources.