Acquisition of U.S. Based SGL Carbon Fiber Manufacturing Plant
Earlier this year Mitsubishi Rayon Company (Japan) decided to aquire SGL Carbon Fibers LLC (Evanston, Wyoming), the fiber production base of the German SGL Group. The plant will be producing a high quality large-tow carbon fiber originally launched and produced in Japan since 2011. There is an increasing demand for large-tow, and we are taking action to grow our presence in this market.
We are on track to be producing 1,000 tons/year of large-tow carbon fiber through this acquisition. This new facility along with the increase in regular-tow production at our current plant in Sacramento, will put our carbon fiber production to more than double, to 5000 tons/year. Our parent company, Mitsubishi Chemical, will consequently have their total PAN based carbon fiber production increased to 14,300 tons/year.
The primary advantage for using large-tow is price, but often comes with the distinct disadvantage of reduced physical properties. However, the Otake Production Center launched a high-performance large-tow which has equivalent quality and physical properties to regular-tow fibers. We are excited to begin the journey of producing this exciting large-tow locally in the United States, in Evanston, Wyoming.
When originally launched, this fiber immediately drew attention in the aircraft and pressure vessel market, but now other industries are also seeing its advantages. A continuing drive for renewable energy has increased the need for additional wind turbines; this has been the primary driver for this acquisition. Additionally, the market for large-tow is broadening due to the automotive industry’s search for strong, lightweight, yet competitively priced materials. The advantages this fiber brings will continue to present new opportunities for large-tow applications. As a company we will always continue to develop and innovate, along with the expectation of additional expansions in the future.