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Toray to Supply Boeing Carbon Fibre for 7E7

  • Friday, 28th May 2004
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

The Boeing Company has selected Toray Industries, Inc., to provide Torayca prepreg composites for use in the primary structural areas of the all-new Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner.

The supply agreement, which is a deal worth $2.9b over 17 years, Toray will be Boeing’s exclusive supplier of carbon fibre for the 7E7 due for launch in 2008.

“Composites offer us a variety of advantages including better durability, reduced maintenance requirements and increased potential for future developments,” said Mike Bair, senior vice president 7E7 Program. “Toray’s composites will make the 7E7 light, strong, and extremely reliable.”

The composite prepreg material, a combination of high-strength carbon fibre and toughened epoxy resin, has proven performance on 777 structural applications such as the empennage and floor beams. The composites will be used in major sections of the 7E7, including the wing and fuselage. Toray will supply the composites material from its facility in Tacoma, Wash. The carbon fibre will be primarily used in the wings and fuselage of the new aircraft.

Masayoshi Kamiura, Director of the Board and General Manager of TORAYCA and Advanced Composites Divisions, stated, “The realization of a carbon fibre composite commercial aircraft has been Toray’s composite business dream for more than 30 years. In this regard, Toray is pleased to provide its composite materials expertise in support of Boeing’s 7E7 Dreamliner development.”

As much as 35 percent of the structure of Boeing’s proposed 7E7 Dreamliner aircraft will be made by Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and Fuji will make most of the wing components for the 7E7, while Kawasaki and others will produce the midsection.

Tokyo-based Toray said it will invest as much as 16 billion yen to double production in Washington state’s Tacoma city to 3,600 tons a year by 2006. Toray will also invest 8 billion yen to expand in Japan to meet the needs of the Boeing contract.

`The project with Boeing will increase Toray’s profit by at least 10 percent a year for the next 18 years,” said Yusuke Ando at the Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo.

”Through this project, we will strengthen our partnership with Boeing,” said Toray’s president Sadayuki Sakakibara at a press conference in Tokyo. “The company does not expect a one-time gain from this project,” he said, adding that Boeing will make annual payments throughout the contract’s term.

The 7E7 can carry between 200 and 300 passengers and will consume up to 20 percent less fuel than the models it replaces, Boeing has said. The wing, made of composite materials including carbon fibres, will be manufactured in Japan.

Toray is the world’s biggest-maker of carbon fibre. It plans to increase its global production capacity to 10,900 tons a year from 7,300 tons, the company said. Besides expanding in Japan and the U.S., Toray also plans to double its production capacity in France to 2,600 tons a year by 2006.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Toray’s shares surged 8.2 percent to 527 yen, their highest since June 2001.

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