Japan-based Toray Industries opens US$ 80 million plant in Jalisco
Officials from Japan-based Toray Industries inaugurated a new plant in El Salto, Jalisco, to manufacture fabrics for automotive air bags, its first production facility related to this product in the Americas.
The company invested US$ 80 million and recruited 170 workers in order to start operations with capacity to produce about 10,000 tons of nylon fibers per year. This will increase the Japanese global company’s output capacity about 20%.
The plant sits on the grounds of a factory operated by Toray’s American carbon fiber subsidiary Zoltek. The global market for air bags is growing 8% a year on average and will reach $29.7 billion in 2020, U.S. research firm Transparency Market Research projects.
The massive recalls of Takata air bags are also lifting demand. In addition to the need for replacements, competitors are vying to grab market share for themselves. Although Toray has not identified clients, Sweden’s Autoliv is seen receiving a large amount.
Recently Toray reported the development of a new variety of regular tow carbon fiber it says has an outstanding cost-performance ratio, and will build a new carbonization facility for its mass production at the Mexican plant. The new plant is expected to start production at the end of 2018.
The overall global carbon fibre market is expected to continue growing at a rate exceeding 10% annually as the material is utilized in various industries, the company observes, and at the same time market needs are diversifying.