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Cytec building team to develop lower cost carbon fiber production

By: Michael Lauzon

July 8, 2014

Cytec Industries Inc. plans to team up with a German company to find lower-cost ways of creating carbon fiber.

Woodland Park, N.J.-based Cytec announced July 8 that it has entered into strategic discussions with Dralon GmbH, an acrylic fiber producer in Dormagen, Germany. The two firms hope to develop large-tow industrial-grade carbon fiber.

Cytec said industrial uses of carbon fiber, such as automotive components, are forecast to grow significantly. Carmakers are actively researching the use of carbon fiber to cut vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency.

In March, Cytec said it took an equity position in C-Con Holdings GmbH, a Munich-based composites engineering and development company to lower carbon fiber costs for medium-run vehicle production in the order of 10,000 or more vehicles per year.

Cytec already sells carbon fiber composites to short-run specialties like racing cars and into aerospace markets.

Large-scale adoption of the reinforcements in auto parts will require “a robust supply chain” of industrial grade fibers at low cost on a continuous basis, said Cytec Chairman, President and CEO Shane Fleming in a news release. Collaboration with Dralon could lead to joint investment, he added. Other partners might be sought, according to Fleming.

“We are investigating conversion of existing Dralon acrylic fiber production lines for the manufacture of high-quality heavy-tow precursor as well as investment in new carbon fiber lines,” stated Dralon CEO Stefan Braun in a news release. Dralon runs acrylic fiber production plants in Dormagen and Lingen, Germany, that Braun claims can offer secure supply to the European market.