Toray Industries, Inc. has signed a long-term basic supply agreement with the aerospace and defence company EADS to supply carbon fiber prepreg for aircraft application primarily for Airbus S.A.S. over 15 years through 2025.
EADS is Europe’s largest aerospace corporate group comprising the globally leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus as well as the helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter, the space provider Astrium and the EADS Defence & Security division. Until now, Toray has been supplying high-quality and high-performance carbon fibers to EADS through prepreg manufacturers which produce and supply carbon fiber prepreg. The agreement this time enables a framework for Toray to directly supply a wider range of products, including its high-performance carbon fiber prepreg to EADS.
The demand for carbon fiber for aircraft application had been stagnant since 2008. However, there are signs of recovery and expansion of the market, as major aircraft manufacturers revise up the number of aircraft production. Airbus has been using carbon fiber composite materials in primary and secondary structural material of A320 Single Aisle Family, A330 / A340, Long Range Family and A380.
With the A350 XWB, a new generation Long-Range medium-sized jet airplane, carbon fiber composite materials will be used in a significant scale in wings and fuselage. The production of this new aircraft is expected to dramatically increase the use of carbon fiber composite materials at Airbus.
Toray is currently in the process of qualifying for its intermediate-modulus carbon fiber prepreg and will also make active efforts so that its prepreg will be adopted for existing and new aircraft models that Airbus may develop in the future.
Toray positions the aircraft application as the core application of its high-performance carbon fibers and it has a roughly 60% market share in carbon fibers for aircraft application.
In April, Toray signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Daimler AG to develop automobile parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). (Earlier post.)