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Toray reduces carbon fiber and prepreg production

Toray will suspend operations in Spartanburg, S.C., U.S., and reduce prepreg capacity in Tacoma, Wash., U.S.
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Source | Toray

As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, Toray Composite Materials America Inc. (TCMA, Tacoma, Wash., U.S.) announced on June 5 its realignment of U.S. operations, and a corresponding reduction in employee headcount to better position the company for an extended downturn in its commercial business streams.

TCMA says it will immediately suspend operations at its Spartanburg, S.C., U.S., plant and significantly reduce capacity in its Tacoma prepreg facility. These actions will result in a reduction of roughly 25% of the workforce across CMA’s facilities in the United States.

"Decisions that directly impact our associates and their livelihood are never ones that we take casually," says president and CEO, Dennis Frett. "But these actions are absolutely necessary to reduce our costs and position the company for the future.”

Toray notes that COVID-19 and the corresponding collapse of global air travel, has dramatically reduced demand for passenger aircraft. Furthermore, says the company, global macroeconomic conditions are reducing the demand for industrial products. "Considering industry analysts and recent actions by other aerospace companies, we see a three-to-five-year timeline until we return to a sales volume that resembles anything pre-pandemic," says Timothy Kirk, vice president of Aerospace Sales.

These actions will enable TCMA to reduce its costs to partially mitigate the immediate downturn in business. Additionally, TCMA will enhance its cooperation with business units in the United States to better meet customer expectations and adapt to a changing market.

Toray, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest carbon fiber manufacturer in the world, with a global, nameplate carbon fiber capacity of about 57,000 metric tonnes. Click here for a full list of carbon fiber suppliers and their manufacturing capacity.