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Mitsubishi Chemical to start operations at carbon-fiber processing plant in Italy

By Mary Page Bailey |

Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (MCC; Tokyo; www.m-chemical.co.jp) announced its intention to start up its European carbon fiber sheet molding compound (SMC) production facility in Italy. The new facility, slated to start operations in September 2020, will be located on a site adjoining C.P.C. SRL in Modena, Italy, in which MCC holds a 44% equity stake.

SMC developed by MCC is a type of intermediate material for carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs) and a sheet-shaped material in which carbon fibers cut into several-centimeter lengths are dispersed in resin. The SMC can be processed into components in a short period of time, i.e. roughly 2 to 5 minutes, by press molding. In contrast to prepreg intermediate materials (uncut carbon fiber fabric impregnated with resin), this SMC features high formability for molding complicated shaped parts.

In Japan, MCC produces SMC at its Aichi Plant (Toyohashi-shi, Aichi). Automakers in Japan have already adopted SMC for automobile door and luggage compartment inner panels and structural components for rear doors. Through CPC, MCC has developed its mobility business in Europe, using CFRPs as the main structural material. It has moved ahead with the development of SMC to gain certification for automotive applications, mainly from several European luxury automakers, anticipating wider adoption in the future.

To meet such strong demand, MCC will start up its new SMC production facility in Modena, Italy to offer increased production capacity. Modena offers a tradition of cutting edge engineering, a smooth access to MCC’s customers in the automotive market, as well as skilled labor forces. The new production facility, in addition to MCC’s current facility in Aichi, will bolster SMC production and contribute to further expansion of MCC’s global sales.

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