The plant , located at Mitsubishi Rayon's Otake production site in Japan, is scheduled to start operations in the second quarter of 2011. It was originally scheduled to start up in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The plant will cost 12 billion yen and will have an annual production capacity of 2700 tonnes. It will produce Mitsubishi's new P330 series high performance, large tow, carbon fibre, mainly for industrial use

MRC started construction of the new carbon fibre plant to meet increasing demand, especially from the wind energy, pressure vessel and automotive industries. However, since many projects were delayed or suspended during the economic recession the company decided to suspend construction. The decision to resume construction follows increased demand from sports and leisure applications since early 2010, and the start up of suspended industrial projects.

Until Mitsubishi starts manufacture of the new P330 series carbon fibre at the new plant in Japan, it will continue making these new products at its US subsidiary Grafil for initial customers’ evaluation and marketing.

New carbon fibre

Mitsubishi reports that its P330 series has the same performance as its standard small tow carbon fibre (i.e. high strength fibre TR50S/TRH50) but the filament count is larger (50-60k). Compared with standard small tow carbon fibres (less than 24K), the P330 series has better processability for large composites and performs like standard small tow. According to the company, the new plant will not only be the first plant to produce high performance large tow carbon fibre in volume, but it will also have the largest carbon fibre plant capacity in history.