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Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

Zoltek De Mexico Starts Up

St. Louis-based carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek Cos. Inc. has begun manufacturing operations at its Zoltek de Mexico facility in Guadalajara. Zoltek acquired the textile acrylic plant in October 2007, modified it to produce acrylic precursor for use in carbon fiber production and installed four continuous carbonization lines.

“The Mexico plant now enables us to meet anticipated major increases in demand in the wind energy and other large emerging commercial applications,” said Zsolt Rumy, chairman and CEO, Zoltek. “We have substantially increased our capacity to produce low-cost carbon fibers on a timely and extremely cost-effective basis, and further extended our leadership in the growing commercial advanced composite market.”

According to company estimates, the Guadalajara facility eventually could produce 60,000 metric tons of precursor material annually, supporting the production of more than 27,000 metric tons of carbon fibers.

As part of its strategy to commercialize carbon fibers as a widely used building material, Zoltek has expanded its management team, recentered its research and development programs, and heightened its efforts to improve operations.

November/December 2008