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Based on its recent analysis of the automotive carbon fiber market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Zoltek Companies, with the “2013 North American Frost & Sullivan new product innovation award” for its unique commercial carbon fiber, Zoltek Panex 35.
Aimed at addressing the key automotive industry challenge of lightweighting, this product offers features desired by the automotive industry: low and stable pricing, product consistency at high volume, and superior electrical and mechanical properties.Partnerships with Zoltek can be a tremendous value addition to automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) seeking to manufacture lightweight vehicles. Panex 35 is produced through a combination of a textile fiber precursor with a distinctive, high-throughput process. Zoltek introduces these carbon fibers with specially developed sizing chemistries in high-volume sheet molding compounds (SMC), thermoplastic compounded products and continuous fiber tapes, fabrics for resin transfer molding (RTM), and fast-curing prepreg systems.The fiber is available in various forms, including continuous tow, chopped fiber, milled fiber, carbon fabrics and felts, prepreg tapes, and pultruded profiles. In a chopped fiber product format, the Panex 35 fiber is compounded with generic thermoplastic resins such as polycarbonate (PC) and high-temperature thermoplastic resins such as polyether ether ketone (PEEK) and polyetherimide (PEI) for higher strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios than competing incumbent products.Zoltek, along with several partners, has developed low-cost thermoplastic tape products, specifically for high-volume applications, where localized areas of stiffening are required in combination with injection molding processes. This enables the production of low-cost and structurally optimized composite parts.Zoltek has also developed a new low-cost Epoxy TowPreg for dry winding of CNG tanks. This product has found uptake among companies seeking to manufacture hood and trunk inner structures, traditionally manufactured using stitch preforms.Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed an innovative element in a product by leveraging leading-edge technologies. The award recognizes the value-added features/benefits of the product and the increased ROI it offers customers, which, in turn, increases customer acquisition and overall market penetration potential.More information: www.zoltek.com