Japan-based Toho Tenax Co. Ltd. — a manufacturer of carbon fibers, and the main carbon fibers
business owned by the Teijin Group — has announced it will increase its endeavors in the aerospace
market. The company plans to supply both its carbon fibers and advanced carbon prepreg products for
a variety of aircraft including regional and business jets with the goal of shifting revenue from
80 percent from yarn sales currently to more than 50 percent from prepreg sales within the next
five to 10 years. The company also reports it hopes to supply 6,000 tons of carbon fiber for a
30-percent market share by the year 2025. This volume of fiber has a value of 100 billion yen.
Other goals the company will undertake include: beefing up direct contracts with aerospace
manufacturers; improving its own organizational structure through the new Aerospace Sales
Department; working closely with other Teijin divisions to engineer high-performance carbon fibers
and resins by improving prepreg productivity, developing mass production technologies, and adopting
innovative materials and technologies from the automotive sector; and launching a thermoplastic
prepreg production facility for high-performance materials to be used as primary structural
materials in aircraft.
Any sales expansions will be supported by new production facilities on an as-needed basis.
Because Toho Tenax signed a contract with EADS, the parent company of Airbus, for carbon fiber
reinforced thermoplastic resin laminate sheeting, it is investing in a new thermoplastic prepreg
line at a Toho Tenax Europe GmbH facility in Germany. The company anticipates production will begin
on the new line in March 2011.
In related company news, Toho Tenax has engineered two carbon fiber composite materials that
look promising for commercial applications: one features polyether ether ketone thermoplastic
resin; and a second uses benzoxazine thermosetting resins. The new materials were designed
specifically for the Airbus A350 XWB and A380 aircraft, respectively.
July 13, 2010