Cytec Industries Inc. has resumed expansion of carbon-fiber production capacity at its Piedmont, S.C., facility. Work on the project was halted during the 2008-09 recession and credit crisis when demand dropped in the aerospace industry.
“We're timing availability of product with aerospace building,” Cytec spokeswoman Jodi Allen said in a telephone interview. Aerospace construction has rebounded recently.
Cytec has also begun expansion of its prepreg production in Greenville, Texas, largely to serve the aerospace sector.
Allen said Cytec's capital expenditures this year will amount to between $200 million and $250 million, including the carbon-fiber and prepreg projects. A similar budget is lined up for 2013.
The carbon-fiber project will total $250 million, of which $150 million has already been spent. Cytec relies on polyacrylonitrile fiber in its carbon-fiber production. Construction of the expansion, which was announced June 5, is due for the end of 2013. Industrial production should begin in 2015 and aerospace qualified sales in 2016. Allen said Cytec will continue to source a big chunk of its carbon-fiber needs from other suppliers when the expansion is done.
In Greenville, prepreg capacity will rise by 20 percent when commercial production begins in 2015. Prepregs are carbon fibers wetted with a range of polymers, depending on customer needs.
“We look forward to continuing our strong relationships and to continued growth and success of our operations at both sites,” said Cytec's vice president of operations for engineered materials, David Snyder, in a news release.
Allen said Cytec also is boosting capacity for its proprietary KM polymer, made in Kalamazoo, Mich., and used in some prepregs.
“There have been some supply constraints and we're letting customers know we will increase it to make more prepregs,” Allen said. Production will rise by 25 percent at the end of this year and will double in a second expansion phase due for completion in early 2014.
Aerospace programs using the Cytec materials include the Joint Strike Fighter, new Boeing 787 and 747-8 programs, new Bombardier activity and increased demand in transport, business jet and helicopter production.