Montefibre Carbon Unveils Its First Carbon Fiber PAN Precursor

MIRANDA DE EBRO, Spain — August 7, 2019 — Montefibre Carbon’s 80k tow aims to be the new standard for large-tow carbon fiber for industrial purposes, and the company expects its impact on the industry to be similar to the 50k tow first launched more than 20 years ago.

Montefibre’s carbon fiber precursor is produced from an exclusive polyacrylonitrile formulation (PAN), which enables a carbon fiber of high resistance, high elastic modulus, and low density, and which translates to very rigid and lightweight high performance composites.

The initial Montefibre® 80k product range will consist of the M500 and M600, both qualities for non-aerospace use, with standard modulus (SM).

Montefibre’s M500 and M600 series with 80,000 filaments pursue cost-performance for large volume applications, providing affordable price along with superior fiber quality.

Montefibre® 80-M500-SM series has been designed to produce standard industrial quality carbon fiber, type T300, with a tensile strength of 500 ksi (3.5 Gpa) and a modulus of 33 msi (230 Gpa), mainly designed for use in SMC for press molding, in pellets for injection molding, and milled for 3D printing and construction.

Montefibre 80-M600-SM has been engineered to produce superior quality carbon fiber, with a tensile strength of 600 ksi (4.1 Gpa) and a modulus of 34 msi (235 Gpa), mainly designed for pultrusion, UD tapes, NCF prepreg, and filament winding.

In the words of Montefibre Carbon’s Research Director Dr. María Simon: “the tests we have carried out over the last year have confirmed that the M500 and M600 series have an exceptional thermal profile that allows for high performance and low energy consumption in conventional oxidation and carbonization lines”.

The first production line of Montefibre 80k fiber will come into operation in mid-2020 with an annual capacity of 3,000 tonnes of PAN precursor. Two other production lines will start operating in 2021, reaching an initial capacity of 11,000 tonnes per year, which can be transformed into around 5,000 tonnes of carbon fiber.

The Universal Carbon Fiber

“The new Montefibre M500 and M600 in 80k will make carbon fiber universally accessible to globally expand the substitution of steel, aluminium, and glass fiber in many applications outside the aerospace market, such as marine, construction, or automotive” said Alfonso Cirera, president of Montefibre Carbon.

Montefibre’s challenge is to prescribe the use of carbon fiber in an easy way for any industry. “We have been surprised to see the enormous gap of knowledge that exists between manufacturers that are integrated into large carbon groups and those outside those supply chains. There is no need to complicate or create artificial barriers to the use of carbon fiber. This advanced material can be used in virtually any standard industrial process,” Cirera noted.

The Montefibre M500 and M600 series are not subject to export restrictions as they are not a precursor of carbon fiber for aeronautical or defense use. For this reason, composite and carbon fiber manufacturers from many countries have shown their interest in securing with Montefibre Carbon a stable and long-term supply of carbon fiber PAN precursor without relying on the vertically integrated carbon groups against whom they also compete

In addition to its own development of 80K, Montefibre Carbon is jointly developing, in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States, an ultra-wide carbon fiber, with cables of 320k and 480k, in quality M500 for industrial use, that will be launched to the market in 2021 and that is foreseen to be carbonized at a plant in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Montefibre and its production plant in Miranda de Ebro, Spain, were acquired in 2015 by the investment group Praedium, owned by Alfonso Cirera Santasusana. Praedium has the support of the Ministry of Industry for the transformation of the plant and for the creation of a manufacturing centre to help Spanish and European industry innovate, adapt, and prepare for the replacement of traditional materials with carbon fiber composites.

Montefibre Carbon is the sole heir to the polyacrylonitrile (PAN) carbon fiber precursor technology developed in the late 1950s by Monsanto in Knoxville, USA. The former Italian Montefibre continued these developments from the 1990s onwards. All of this technology is now the exclusive property of Montefibre Carbon, which in the last two years has completed the development of a unique range of carbon fiber adapted to the needs of the composites industry.

Montefibre Carbon’s plan is to become the first independent manufacturer of carbon fiber precursor and to reach in 2025 a production of around 33,000 tonnes per year, representing approximately 12% of the estimated 2025 global demand for industrial uses. In the long term, the objective is to reach a capacity of 75,000 tonnes of precursor to bring to market about 35,000 tonnes of carbon fiber.

Posted August 7, 2019

Source: Montefibre Carbon