ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Fortafil Fibers Inc., a business unit of Akzo Nobel NV, has increased its carbon fiber production capacity to 5 million pounds per year and its manufacturing staff by 25 percent. Peter Oswald, vice president of sales and marketing, said the company began production in February on a carbon fiber production line designed to make 3.3 million pounds per year. The line has new oxidation ovens, high-temperature carbonization furnaces and online sizing and winding equipment. Footings for the building were poured in February 1995.
Fortafil began developing its carbon fiber technology in the late 1960s and started commercial production in 1984 with a 1.7 million-pound-per-year line. Man-ufacturing facilities occupy a 20-acre site in Rockwood, Tenn.; sales and marketing are in Knoxville, Tenn.
Fortafil's long-term strategy focuses on developing high-volume carbon fiber markets for applications in civil engineering, infrastructure and energy production and storage, Oswald said in an interview at the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering meeting held recently in Anaheim.
Fortafil 3-brand carbon fiber, with a modulus of 33 million pounds per square inch and a tensile strength of 550,000 pounds per square inch, is being supplied for electronics, medical, industrial, sporting goods and some automotive applications. Courtaulds plc of Coventry, England, supplies the precursor to Fortafil.
Akzo Nobel, based in Arnhem, the Netherlands, reported 1995 sales of $13.4 billion.
The Akzo Nobel fibers group's 1995 operating profit was about 4.4 percent of sales of $2.2 billion, up from 2.2 percent in 1994.