Japanese chemical company Toray announced the acquisition of Zoltek, a US firm producing and selling large tow carbon fibers.
Zoltek started large tow carbon fiber business in 1988, and acquired textile acrylic fiber plants in Hungary and Mexico in 1996 and 2007 respectively, and has been promoting development of large tow carbon fiber application and demand. It has recently realized strong growth in its business along with the demand increase in wind energy-related application, pursuing its ultimate cost competitiveness.
By acquiring Zoltek, Toray says it has obtained opportunity for further growth, expanding its business in totally different field from regular tow carbon fiber. Through entering into large tow carbon fiber business, the company aims at further expanding its business and providing solution to global issues including environmental, resource-related and energy issues with this advanced material, Toray says.
The global demand for PAN-based carbon fibers is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of exceeding 15% as an advanced material which contributes not only to energy saving through weight reduction but also to spread of renewable energy as alternative of fuel (oil and coal) energy. Regular tow carbon fiber is widely being accepted in the field of high performance / high quality application such as aerospace.
Meanwhile, large tow carbon fiber is anticipated to expand its applications, based on its reasonable balance between cost and performance, to wind energy-related which shows rapid demand growth in recent years, and automobile structural parts in future. Toray foresees the demands for regular tow carbon fiber and large tow fiber will grow separately.
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