Japanese Chemical Co. Invests in South Carolina for New Plant to Supply Boeing – 東レがサウスカロライナ州に新工場建設 ボーイングに炭素繊維を供給


This article is presented bilingually in English and Japanese. For Japanese, click here. この記事は日本語でもお読みいただけます。日本語はこちら

American aircraft giant Boeing signed a memorandum of agreement with Japanese chemicals manufacturer Toray Industries in late November, 2014. Toray will provide carbon fiber to Boeing for use in the production of its new aircraft, the 777X, which is currently under development as the successor to the 777 model.

With this new contract in place, Toray decided to build a new carbon fiber production factory in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, set to be the largest such facility in the world. Toray bought the land for the plant in February, 2014 and will invest over $830 million (approximately 100 billion Japanese yen) to construct the new work site. The new plant is planned to begin initial operations in 2016, and Toray will eventually produce more carbon fiber in the US than it does in Japan.

South Carolina has recently been eyeing greater investment from Asia and seeking stronger business ties. Governor Nikki Haley recently went on a trade mission to India, and has voiced her support for new investments from across the Asia-Pacific. Toray’s new facility, given the massive scope of the investment, will make it a showpiece for Asian investment there.

Toray has already been supplying advanced composite materials for Boeing’s planes since 1992, and also has production facilities in Tacoma, Washington. The new 777X supply agreement, together with the existing contract for other models, makes the total value of Toray’s supplies to Boeing worth approximately $8.5 billion (over 1 trillion Japanese yen) over the next decade.

The two companies also announced an agreement to work together in the area of aerospace technology, using carbon fiber composite materials. These new materials are promising for the aviation and aerospace industries, as they weigh much less and reduce fuel consumption and operating costs. The aerospace industry is expected to continue to be a promising area for US-Japan business cooperation in the future, as both countries have strong capabilities in advanced technologies.