Japan's Toray Industries, Inc. recently announced an establishment of development and production base for carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) in Europe in a move aimed at expanding its business in the automobile sector. Toray will make equity participation (investment ratio: 21%) in ACE Advanced Composite Engineering GmbH, a German advanced composites manufacturer in December. The capital investment is aimed at integrating ACE's excellent technologies with Toray's proprietary Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) technology, which has a proven track record in mass production, to upgrade the molding technology and shorten its development period and establish innovative molding technology that can be fully adopted for automobile parts used in mass production models. RTM, technology is emerging as the mainstream technology that can support production of auto parts with mid-level production volumes in the range of 10,000 vehicles per annum.
CFRP-based auto parts have until now been produced using the existing pre-preg molding, which was time consuming and cost intensive, and the adoption is limited in a few super cars which market price are extremely high, and the production volumes are low. By embarking on local development and production of CFRP in Europe, where CFRP adoption in the automobile field is far advanced, Toray aims to achieve significant expansion of its automobile-related CFRP business, which is expected to grow markedly in the future. Toray has been actively allocating its management resources to expand its businesses targeted at the automobile and aircraft field, including the establishment of the Automotive & Aircraft Center (A&A Center) at its Nagoya Plant (Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture), an integrated technological development base for the automobiles and aircraft field.