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Toray Set to Expand Base Fibre in U.S.

04 May 2004

Textile maker Toray Industries Inc., are to expand the production capacity of its PAN-based carbon fiber and prepreg U.S facilities, in response to growing demand, company officials said Monday.

Carbon fibre is supplied as a composite material in sheet form after the base fibre is processed and mixed with resin. Toray now ships the base fibre from Japan and processes it in the U.S. to supply clients there, including aircraft maker Boeing Co.

Toray, the world's largest supplier of carbon fibre, with an annual output capacity of 7,300 tons, plans to add a base fibre production facility with an output capacity of 1,800 tons at its processing plant in Alabama.

The processing facility will also be upgraded to double the annual output capacity to around 3,600 tons.

The company will also double the output capacity of its composite materials plant in the state of Washington to 11.2 million sq. meters a year. Those facilities are scheduled to come on line in early 2006 and the total investment is expected to be about 16 billion yen.

Toray has an exclusive agreement with Boeing to supply carbon fibre used in the wings and fuselage of the Boeing 777 aircraft.

The material is expected to account for about half of the weight of Boeing's next model, the 7E7, expected to be launched in 2008. The aircraft maker has indicated its intention to procure from Toray.

Toray expects its group's worldwide production capacity of carbon fibre to reach 9,100 tons in 2004 and 10,900 tons in 2006. It expects global demand for carbon fibre, about 20,000 tons a year at present, to grow by 7 percent to 8 percent every year over the next decade.