Japan headquartered Toray Industries Inc. is the world-leading carbon fiber producer in terms of performance, quality and volume. Toray’s high-performance carbon fiber is used primarily in the aerospace and aircraft industries.
In 2014, the company purchased Zoltek Companies Inc., a global leader in the commercialization of low-cost industrial carbon fiber, having plants in the U.S., Mexico and Hungary. Zoltek’s Hungarian plant, located in Nyergesujfalu, delivers solutions primarily to wind energy, aircraft industry and automotive structural applications.
“Since the acquisition, Zoltek has been able to maximize capacity while providing Toray with a key opportunity to expand into rapidly growing industries such as wind energy and the automotive sector,” said Tamás Sárközi, general manager of business administration at Zoltek Hungary.
Carbon fiber, the material of choice for designers and engineers, has remarkable performance characteristics. It is lightweight, flexible, resistant to heat and corrosion and offers high tensile strength qualities.
As European countries focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, especially in the energy and automotive industries, carbon fiber demand continues to rise. Driven by this demand, Zoltek started a significant investment ― supported by the Hungarian government earlier this year ― to expand its facilities and increase production.
“Through our agreement and Toray’s investment of over 100 million euros, we intend to increase our production capacity,” explained Sárközi. “By 2020, we will have increased production capacity by 50 percent and will be able to manufacture 15,000 tons of carbon fiber per year.”
The investment will also generate an additional 350 jobs in Hungary and increase Zoltek’s number of employees to approximately 1,700.
Zoltek is working in close cooperation with the Hungarian government and academic institutions to educate the next generation of engineers.
“We support growing industries in Europe with sustainable materials while cultivating a culture of safety and productivity,” said Sárközi. “As we contribute to society through innovative ideas, technologies and products, we will continue to develop our people and grow our company.”