Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials has acquired the assets of two German carbon fiber recycling companies, sister companies CFK Valley Stade Recycling GmbH and Co. KG and CarboNXT GmbH, the company announced July 30.
The purchase follows on the heels of the company's recent acquisition of both C-M-P GmbH, a carbon fiber prepreg manufacturer, and the Minger Group, an engineering plastics recycler.
The new investments are part of a strategy for the vertically integrated company's circular economy approach to business, equipping it to support the lifecycle of carbon fiber from creation, to reuse, and to resale. The recycled fiber will also be used in the production of various of the composite materials offered in Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials' portfolio.
"This acquisition enables us to fully extend our position in the carbon fiber market, by providing a sustainable solution to a major problem in today's production environments — manufacturing waste and end of life parts," said Ron Denoo, chief strategy and technology officer at Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials.
CFK collects and recycles the carbon fibers using advanced proprietary technology that breaks down carbon fibre waste. This is subsequently processed directly on-site into high-quality CarboNXT carbon fiber products. The quality is comparable to that of virgin carbon fiber, plus these products offer improved adhesion due to the purity of the fiber surface, making them especially suitable for thermoplastics. The recycled fibres are sold by CarboNXT back into the market, which closes the circular loop.
The model is not wholly new to Mitsubishi's corporate structure. Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC) has already successfully employed a similar model in Japan, where it has been recycling carbon fiber through its subsidiary, Shinryo Cor. In the future, MCC will offer total turnkey solutions that include waste recycling to customers by using recycled products as raw materials within the group.