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Zoltek Introduces Superior Low-Cost Carbon Fiber

23 April 2002

Zoltek Companies formally introduced a new line of carbon fibers, trademarked PANEX(R)35, at the 2002 JEC Composites Show, held at the Paris Expo Hall April 9-11.

Zoltek's PANEX(R)35, is made from an internally produced, textile-based precursor and is now available for commercial shipments. Compared with aerospace-grade carbon fibers, the new line of carbon fibers, which has been under development for several years, delivers higher tensile modulus and other performance advantages at sustainable lower cost.

""PANEX(R)35 is the real deal,"" said Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. ""It is a genuinely low-cost carbon fiber made from an abundant textile-based precursor material that can not only match but outperform both aerospace-grade and other commercial-grade carbon fibers in tensile modulus. At the same time, the PANEX(R)35 fibers are fully competitive with other carbon fibers when it comes to tensile strength. It has been extensively tested by a number of our customers and it is getting rave reviews.""

""It has been a critical part of our strategy for commercializing carbon fibers to drive down the cost and gain greater control over both the quality and the availability of the precursor material that goes into the production of carbon fibers,"" Rumy noted. ""It has taken some time to do it, but we have now proven beyond a doubt that we can make quality carbon fibers from a textile acrylic fiber-based precursor. This gives Zoltek the opportunity to draw from the existing world surplus of acrylic fiber production capacity as it becomes necessary. We now have a firm foundation for the commercialization of carbon fibers and carbon fiber composites as a common, everyday building material that will drive performance improvements across a large range of products.""

In December of 1995, Zoltek acquired Magyar Viscosa Rt., of Hungary, one of Europe's producers of acrylic fibers. Zoltek has now successfully converted a substantial portion of the plant's acrylic fiber output into the manufacture of carbon fiber precursor. ""

Further, Zoltek has built additional carbon fiber production lines at the Hungarian facility, based on the Company's innovative and proprietary processes. The Company has entered into partnership arrangements with several European companies, including a leading German automaker, for forging broad new high-volume applications for carbon fibers and carbon fiber composites. ""We are absolutely committed to the European marketplace, and we are extremely excited about potential breakthrough developments for carbon fiber composites within Europe,"" Rumy said. ""European companies are second to none in engineering innovation and excellence.""






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