Montefibre Carbon is investing €16.2 million in its plant in Miranda de Ebro, Spain, €11.5 million of which will come from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, to produce polyacrylonitrile(PAN) precursor for conversion to carbon fiber with semi-aerospace quality and to build a flexible carbonization line.
The new PAN precursor fiber will have a tensile strength of 700 ksi and will be marketed as M700. The new carbonization line will be one of the most advanced lines in the industry to serve as a development and demonstration of Montefibre’s carbon fiber, and will be able to work with fiber from 80K to 480K, up to a capacity of 100 tons per year.
The carbonization line will be operational by the end of 2021 and will serve as a key hub prior to commercial production scale and will generate market-development volumes of carbon fiber, as part of a project to transform part of Miranda facilities into a collaborative research center.
Montefibre’s carbonization line will be the first owned by a Spanish company and the second to be installed in Spain (the first being the line built by Hexel in Illescas in 2008). Furthermore, Montefibre will become, even at a demonstration level, the third leading European producer of carbon fiber (after SGL from Germany and Solvay from Belgium).
Alfonso Cirera Santasusana, CEO and President of Montefibre Carbon expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Industry of the Spanish Government, the Regional Government, and the City Council: "The support of the Spanish Public Administration is essential to achieve the success of a project of the magnitude of Montefibre Carbon, which will be key to the industrial competitiveness of Spain, Castilla y León and Miranda de Ebro".
Montefibre Carbon is currently adapting 4 of its 7 spinning lines to bring to market some 17,000 metric tons per year of its large-tow polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor for conversion to carbon fiber. The first precursor to reach the market is an innovative 80K tow in two industrial qualities, M500 (with a tensile strength of 500 ksi) and M600 (with a tensile strength of 600 ksi), which will be available this year. The M700 aerospace-grade 80K precursor thereafter.
The experience of more than 40 years as world-leader in the development of textile acrylic fiber and specialty acrylic fiber has allowed Montefibre Carbon to develop a proprietary technology for the production of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) carbon fiber precursors.
Montefibre also has the support of the Spanish technology centre Leitat, and has cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States. Additionally, the company is a member of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI-The Composites Institute), a U.S. based national advanced composites consortium with over 150 members.
The Miranda de Ebro plant employs currently 112 people who, over the last 12 months, have been producing samples and industrial tests of precursor fibers that have been tested in carbon fiber development centers around the world, which have validated the M500 and M600 qualities. The development and testing of the M700 quality carbon fiber will be carried out at the Montefibre plant.
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