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Carbon Composites Firm Gets Investment

WIXOM (WWJ) -- Plasan Carbon Composites, the supplier of carbon fiber products to the auto industry, announced Tuesday that Japan's Toray Industries, the world's largest producer of carbon fiber, has taken a 20 percent ownership stake in the company.

Plasan was founded as a spinout of Vermont Composites Industries in 2004. Its automotive business was purchased in 2006 by Plasan Sasa, an Israeli producer of ballistic armor. With plants in Vermont and Wixom and Walker in Michigan, Plasan has produced carbon fiber body parts for the Chevrolet Corvette, the Dodge Viper and the Ford Shelby GT Mustang.

Plasan says the partnership will help PCC expand its capabilities in addressing the automotive industry's drive for weight reduction in its vehicles.

In 2010, PCC announced the establishment of a new Customer Development Center in Wixom, introducing the commercialization of a proprietary high speed pressure-press process for CFRP Class A Body Panels.

"As we look to expand the market for CFRP automotive applications for both Class A and structural applications, we see the need for synergistic relationships and are excited about our new partnership with Toray," said PCC president and CEO Jim Staargaard.  "With Toray being a leader in carbon fiber technology and materials -- as well as our major supplier -- we believe the combination of  PCC's  capabilities along with Toray's material and processing technologies will greatly assist in that expansion. At the same time, with the industry and technologies so dynamic, we will continue to seek out the most cost effective carbon fiber technologies, as we do through the Oak Ridge Lab Consortium, to support that future growth."

Earlier this year, PCC announced that it will be supplying all the 2014 Corvette Stingray hoods and two versions of removable roofs with a proprietary high speed Pressure Press process from a new manufacturing plant in Walker. Both the Wixom and Walker plants were developed with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. PCC was also chosen to supply three major exterior Class A Panels on the 2013 SRT Viper, which are manufactured in its Bennington, Vt. plant. PCC is a charter member of the Oak Ridge National Laboratories Carbon Fiber Consortium.

Toray is based in Tokyo, and has a subsidiary, Toray Resin Co., in Troy.

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