Japan-based Toray Industries, Inc. has agreed in principle to supply carbon fiber TORAYCA prepreg for the production of the new 777X aircraft by The Boeing Company. The companies have signed a memorandum of agreement confirming that the two companies will negotiate extension of their existing comprehensive agreement (signed in November 2005) to supply prepreg for the 787 Dreamliner with aim to extend its contract period for more than ten years and to include 777X to the supply scope, targeting to reach a final agreement by the end of this year. The total value of prepreg Toray Group will supply for both 787 and 777X programs for the contract period is expected to exceed ¥1 trillion (US$8.6 billion).
TORAYCA Prepreg is an intermediate TORAYCA product supplied in sheets consisting of resin-impregnated carbon fiber.
Under the memorandum, Toray and Boeing also confirm that the two companies would negotiate an agreement to promote joint development in a wide range of fields including design, materials and parts production to further increase application of carbon fiber composite materials in the aerospace field.
The 777X aircraft is a large-sized twin-engine passenger aircraft currently being developed by Boeing as a successor to the existing 777, with a plan to deliver the first plane in 2020. The company is currently constructing a plant dedicated for manufacturing the main wings using carbon fiber composite material within the premises of its Everett, Washington plant.
Toray’s TORAYCA prepreg has been selected for these main wings. As for the 787, TORAYCA prepreg has been used from the beginning for part of the primary structural members such as its main wings and body of 787. With Boeing planning to raise the number of 787 aircraft being produced every month from the current 10 planes to 12 per month in 2016 and 14 per month by the end of the decade, and the ratio of larger models also expected to increase, the demand for composite materials also is expected to increase.
In response to the planned 787 production increase to 12 planes a month, Toray has been working on expansion of TORAYCA prepreg production facilities at its US subsidiary Toray Composites (America), Inc.; the new facilities are expected to start operation in January 2016. Given the order increase, Toray plans to soon finalize a plan to newly construct an integrated production line for yarn (precursor), carbon fiber TORAYCA and TORAYCA prepreg in the plant it acquired in February 2014 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina.