Toray Aims to Nurture Korea as Carbon Fiber Center of Asia
Toray Industries, Toray Advanced Materials Korea join forces in Gumi project to mass produce carbon fiber in 2013
Toray Industries President & CEO Akihiro Nikkaku said his company will invest 63 billion won and transfer technology to build a carbon fiber plant in Gumi. Toray Industries CEO Nikkaku and Lee Young-kwan, president of Toray Advanced Materials Korea, the Korean unit of Toray Industries, announced Toray Advanced Materials Korea¡¯s 2011 investment plan at a meeting with reporters at the Seoul Plaza Hotel on Jan. 17. Nikkaku said, ¡°The construction of a carbon fiber plant in Korea will contribute to the localizing of materials, create new demands with related companies and develop it into a mid-core epicenter of production in Asia in the future.¡±
President Lee said Toray Advanced Materials Korea will invest 300 billion won during this year to secure future growth engines. The figure accounts for 25 percent of its total sales in 2010 and is equivalent to 140 percent of operating profits, he said. The president announced the management plan, calling for making the year 2011 the first year for realizing Vision 2020, established in 2010, and making massive investments starting with the carbon fiber segment and expanding to the film and IT materials sectors and globalizing the non-woven fabric segment.
Toray Industries and Toray Advanced Materials Korea are jointly funneling 63 billion won into the construction of the third carbon fiber plant in Gumi, employing Toray Industries¡¯ TORAYCA, the carbon fiber technology with the world¡¯s highest quality competiveness. The groundbreaking ceremony for the carbon fiber plant with an annual capacity of 2,200 tons will be held in early 2011 with mass production of industrial and sport carbon fibers slated for January 2013.
Toray Advanced Materials Korea¡¯s upcoming production of carbon fiber, which Korea has so far wholly imported, will serve as an opportunity for the nation to localize the material and established a stable supply system as well as create new demand and make joint research for carbon fiber composites by forging strategic cooperation with related parts and materials and finished products makers, Toray Advanced Materials Korea officials said.
Toray Advanced Materials Korea will continue to expand capacity by 2020 so as to realize the Toray Group¡¯s strategy to develop Korea into a global mid-sized core operation center. The company is expected to take charge of supplying carbon fiber in Korea and Asia.
The size of the Korean carbon fiber market is predicted to surge from 2,400 tons in 2010 to 14,000 tons in 2020, and boosting related industries could bring about economic spillover effects ¡ª creating new markets whose value is projected to grow to approximately 10 trillion won by 2020 as well as 30,000 jobs, the officials said. Toray Advanced Materials Korea¡¯s investment in the carbon fiber segment will likely boost the global competitiveness of the related industries, thus contributing to helping Korea become one of the global composite powerhouses and ensuring low-carbon, green growth, they said.
Toray Industries plans to expand its business horizons in future growth segments and countries and regions with growth potential as well as widen green technology development and business portfolios under the green innovation paradigm contributing to addressing global environmental issues.
Toray Industries, which has established the carbon fiber TORAYCA as the advanced material for ensuring green innovation, is accelerating its bid to develop products in areas with future growth potential, including the environment/energy, premium sports and automobile/aircraft sectors, as part of its plan to build a four-polar global operation regime adding Korea on top of Japan, France and the United States.
Carbon fiber has been recognized as an environmentally-friendly ¡°dream¡± material that can conserve energy by reducing the weight of automobiles, ships and wind power components and materials. Carbon fiber is 10 times as strong, one-fourth as light, and seven times as elastic as iron. It has many applications in almost all industries ranging from the aerospace and aviation fields to automobiles, shipping and other maritime transportation sectors, new and renewable energy fields and electric, electronics and civil engineering and construction sectors. nw
Toray Industries President & CEO Akihiro Nikkaku
Lee Young-kwan, president of Toray Advanced Materials Korea