The Stamford, CT-based advanced composites company Hexcel Corp. announced plans today to expand its carbon fiber production capacity through the addition of new precursor and carbon fiber lines in Roussillon, France. The company said that this $250 million investment will also include the associated Quality Control laboratories and offices. The decision was welcomed by Airbus, a longtime Hexcel customer, whose President and CEO Fabrice Brégier commented that the decision supported: "Airbus requirements for A350 XWB composite primary structures and underlines the strong partnership between Airbus and Hexcel."
Hexcel specializes in lightweight, high-performance structural materials, including carbon fibers, reinforcements, prepregs, honeycomb, matrix systems, adhesives and composite structures. In recent years, the company, whose materials find application in commercial aerospace, space and defense and industrial applications such as wind turbine blades, has increased its precursor and carbon fiber capacities through targeted expansions at existing facilities. Most notably, Hexcel is investing in ongoing precursor and carbon fiber expansions at its U.S. facilities and is currently installing its industry-leading resin mixing and filming technology - first developed in Europe - in the U.S. The new facility in France is Hexcel's first precursor plant in Europe and represents the company's first investment in carbon fiber capacity in France.
The new French plant will occupy a 37-acre site at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform in Roussillon, which is close to Hexcel's weaving and prepreg manufacturing facilities near Lyon. Carbon fiber from the new plant will be supplied to Hexcel customers including Airbus for the A350 XWB and Safran for the CFM LEAP engine. Construction of the new plant will begin by mid-2015 and it is expected to employ 120 people when fully operational in early 2018.
"The state of the art manufacturing facilities that we will build demonstrate our commitment to technology expansion around the world to provide an efficient global supply chain in support of customer programs," commented Hexcel's Chairman, President and CEO Nick Stanage.
He added that the new plant will serve to strengthen customer relationships, provide greater opportunities for aerospace industry growth and reinforce Hexcel's position as a global leader in carbon fiber composites.