Toray Industries Inc. said Tuesday it has won a contract to supply carbon fiber material for use in Boeing Co.’s new midsize B787 aircraft through 2021.
Under the deal, the materials producer will sell carbon fiber for use in the plane’s fuselage, as well as for the main wings and tail units as spelled out in a separate long-term contract signed in May 2004.
The contract, however, will come up for review just before its last five years.
The carbon fiber is called prepreg, a type of sheeting that is composed of carbon fiber impregnated with epoxy resin.
The U.S. aircraft maker aims to use large amounts of carbon fiber in the new plane to make it lighter, stronger and more durable, thereby achieving better fuel economy. The amount of carbon fiber materials is estimated at 30 tons per plane, or about half of the weight of its structural materials, according to a Toray statement.
Because of its energy efficiency achieved through the use of carbon fiber, the B787, which is scheduled to go into service in 2008, is expected to help lower flight costs, create roomier cabin space and raise in-cabin humidity.
Boeing has received firm orders for nearly 400 so far, Toray said.
Assuming that the B787 will be assembled at a rate of 10 a month, Toray estimates the new contract will be worth $6 billion or more.
In a move that anticipated the new business with Boeing and other firms, Toray has beefed up production capacity in the United States and is building a new plant in Ehime Prefecture due to start operations in early 2007.
Toray has been supplying its high-strength carbon fiber called Torayca to Boeing since the mid-1970s.