Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. is acquiring a carbon fiber plant in Evanston, Wyo., from SGL Group, in order to expand its North American business in that material.
The deal is expected to be completed by April. MRC is a unit of Mitsubishi Group of Tokyo. SGL is based in Wiesbaden, Germany. No purchase price was disclosed in a Jan. 10 news release announcing the deal.
MRC officials said that their firm has developed high-performance large tow, a unique carbon fiber that supports high productivity in the molding of large components while exhibiting the physical and quality properties of regular-tow carbon fibers. MRC has been developing applications for the materials in fields such as aircraft and compressed gas tanks since it opened its Otake Production Center in Japan in July 2011, they added.
Large tow carbon fiber also is seeing increasing demand in wind turbine blades. Inquiries to use the material in the automotive market are increasing as well, officials said. The acquisition will add more than two million pounds of annual carbon fiber production capacity, increasing MRC's global capacity for the material to more than 31 million pounds.
In addition to Otake, MRC also makes carbon fiber in Sacramento, Calif. SGL will continue to make carbon fiber at larger sites in Moses Lake, Wash., and Muir of Ord, Scotland.