Leading carbon fiber group Zoltek Corp. has signed a strategic agreement with the Hungarian government to expand its operation in northern Hungary, already the largest carbon fiber plant in the world.
Zoltek, based in St Louis, Mo., and part of Japan's Toray group, is committed to growing capacity at its facility at Nyergesújfalu where it will create 100 new jobs now and expects to recruit another 200 to 300 workers in the Esztergom area over the coming two to three years.
The Zoltek plant manufactures a wide range of specialty materials for use mainly in the wind energy, aerospace and automotive industries. The latest project will focus on expanding the manufacture of carbon fiber components for the automotive market.
Last year, Zoltek Hungary had a workforce totalling 1,600 and annual sales of more than 185 million euros ($199.3 million).
When the firm signed the government deal in March, Hungary's Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister stressed the importance of the agreement to the national economy. He pointed out that previous strategic deals with foreign investors had resulted in the successful creation of “thousands of new jobs.”
Zoltek has been cooperating with the global auto components supplier Magna International Inc. in the development of CFS-Z carbon fiber sheet molding compound. Now Magna is offering global manufacturers a complete range of lightweight composite parts, sub-systems and semi-structural applications for automotive as well as commercial trucks.
Apart from the government strategic deal, Zoltek has also signed a cooperation agreement with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics aimed at assisting education of the next generation of carbon fiber professionals.