American Materials & Technologies Corp. and France's Schappe Techniques sarl have formed a 50-50 joint venture in an effort to cut the cost of advanced composite materials.
AMT's Culver City Composites Corp. subsidiary and Schappe plan in January to launch a line of pre-impregnated carbon fibers using Modlite Select Inc. as the name for both the venture and product line. Sixteen market sectors are targeted.
Culver City Composites makes similar products now in Los Angeles, but the venture anticipates significantly lower costs from use of Schappe's fibers and its Lyon, France, production capabilities. Eventually the firms plan to construct a manufacturing plant elsewhere, once demand exceeds Lyon's annual capacity of 440,900 pounds.
Initially, Modlite Select will sell intermediate-modulus prepreg tows with carbon-filament ranges of 3,000-12,000 and 48,000-320,000. Later, the line will include thermoplastic fibers.
Schappe has sales of about $100 million, employs about 100 and, in addition to the Lyon site, has headquarters in Charnoz, France.
Schappe makes fibers and blends of spun fiberglass, aramid, pre-oxidized polyacrylonitrile, polyester, polyetheretherketone, polyphenylene sulfide and phenolic and also supplies spun- and zero-twisted carbon fibers and yarns.
A principal Schappe market involves wraps to package high-temperature pumps and bearing assemblies. The firm's history dates back to spinning silk in the late 1890s.
Culver City Composites uses proprietary resins in manufacturing advanced composite materials for aerospace, defense, transportation, communications and sporting goods applications. The new venture, formed Sept. 30, assures a material supply to the firm in the midst of industry uneasiness about carbon-fiber availability.
Culver City Composites has a 37,000-square-foot manufacturing plant next to AMT's 40,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and research and development hub in Los Angeles. Last year AMT employed about 140 and had profit of $934,000 on sales of $22.4 million. This year it has expanded through acquisitions and ventures.
Modlite Select will market the prepreg worldwide through the sales force of Culver City Composites and another AMT joint venture, AIK Industrie GmbH in Kassel, Germany.