Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC) has resumed construction of new carbon fibre plant to be operational from the second quarter of 2011. MRC previously suspended the construction in March 2009 in response to global economic conditions and the corresponding downturn in carbon fibre markets.
The plant will be based at the Otake production centre, Hiroshima pref, Japan, with a production capacity of 2,700 metric tons / year of P330 series high performance large tow carbon fibre for industrial use. The original start-up timing was 2009 Q4, which has now been revised to 2011 Q2.
MRC started new the plant construction to meet increasing demand, especially from growing industries such as wind blades, pressure vessels and automotive, which were expected to keep growing in the long term. However, as many projects were delayed or suspended under the economic recession, MRC decided to suspend new plant construction and put off the start-up date by a year.
MRC has just made a decision to resume construction as demand from sport and leisure applications has been increasing significantly from early 2010, suspended big industrial projects have started kicking in, and existing factories are nearly fully utilized.
Until they start manufacturing the new P330 series product at the new plant in Japan, MRC will continue making these new products at Grafil in the US for initial customers’ evaluation and marketing.
MRC say that the P330 series performs as their standard small tow (TR50S/TRH50), but that the filament count is larger (50-60k), giving it better processability for large composite structures. Accoring to MRC, the new plant will be the first plant to produce high performance large tow in earnest over the world, and also it will be the largest carbon fibre plant (2,700t/pa) in history.
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