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The company has formally restructured its growing carbon fiber business into three business units: Wind Energy, Composite Intermediates, and Technical Fibers. This is in addition to Zoltek Automotive which has been established as a major application development unit.
The purpose of this restructuring is to better align Zoltek resources with specific market opportunities and future growth.
The Wind Energy Business Unit is structured to capitalize on Zoltek’s most immediate and largest potential market. Wind Energy market indications show that 2011-12 will be a critical period when major wind energy companies will develop larger turbines that require carbon fiber. Dr. Philip Schell was recently promoted to Executive Vice President Wind Energy, and will lead this business unit. He and his team will provide dedicated support to Zoltek’s current wind energy customers, and ensure that Zoltek reaches its full market potential within this sector.
The Composite Intermediate Business Unit will primarily focus on the commercialization of value-added carbon fiber products. Zoltek’s mission to commercialize carbon fibers has proven successful in the last decade, but converting carbon fibers to a finished product is still plagued by a fragmented, inefficient supply chain. The company is now directing its commercialization efforts to higher-throughput, lower-cost conversion methods that will consolidate the supply chain and open up new market applications. These value-added, or “composite intermediate” products are being developed by Zoltek’s R&D group, and will provide carbon fiber end-users with a new performance and price point for downstream products. This business unit will be led by David Purcell, who was recently promoted to Vice President, Composite Intermediates.
Finally, Zoltek has decided to add manpower to their Technical Fibers Business Unit, which includes the Pyron® and Panex® 30 product lines. Zoltek’s strong aircraft brake business and their significant growth capacity in the flame and heat resistant applications in automotive and protective clothing has propelled this business unit thus far. Peter Oswald, who has over 25 years of experience in this sector, has been named Vice President, Technical Fibers. He and his team have been tasked with strengthening Zoltek’s position in these markets and developing new applications for heat and friction resistant technical fibers.
Zoltek believes that Wind Energy, Composite Intermediates, and Technical Fibers are markets that represent significant short-term growth for the company. Looking forward, automotive applications represent significant long-term growth.
In April 2010, Zoltek announced the forming of Zoltek Automotive, a subsidiary set up to accelerate the incorporation of carbon fiber products into automotive applications. Led by Zoltek CTO George Husman, Zoltek Automotive is developing processes that are quicker and more efficient in the use of carbon fiber, products that will improve production of finished parts, and process machines and new intermediate products that are specifically designed to suit high-volume automotive applications.
Zoltek’s primary goal is to continue its leadership in the commercialization of carbon fiber. Zoltek CEO, Zsolt Rumy said “This is an exciting time for our company; the realignment of our business focus and these subsequent management changes are necessary to keep Zoltek moving forward and on the leading edge of commercializing carbon fiber”.