Hexcel has opened its new carbon fiber plant at the Les Roches-Roussillon Chemicals Industry Platform in Isère, France. Muriel Pénicaud, French Labor Minister; Yannick Neuder, vice-president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region for higher education, research, innovation, and European funding; and Nick Stanage, Hexcel chairman, CEO and president; local dignitaries; media representatives; and Hexcel customers, partners, and employees were in attendance.
The new 37-acre plant is devoted to the manufacture of carbon fiber and PAN precursor. Four years after the project launch on Sept. 30, 2014, the site is operational and increasing Hexcel’s global carbon fiber production capacity. Hexcel invested 200 million euros in the plant. It will generate 120 direct jobs and 250 indirect positions. Hexcel’s workforce in France has now risen to 1,200 people with more than 1,000 employees located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
Hexcel officials chose the location at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform due to its proximity to other Hexcel sites, its quality infrastructure, operational excellence, and the availability of competitively priced electricity in France. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region has provided support with training.
Operating in synergy with Hexcel’s existing sites in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Les Avenières, the biggest carbon fiber weaving plant in Europe, and Dagneux, manufacturer of prepreg fabrics and carbon fibers, the new plant will create a global ecosystem for high-performance composite materials covering the entire production chain from carbon fiber to resin-impregnated fabrics (prepreg).
Since 2015, Hexcel has invested in all its locations worldwide, largely to support the growing demand for composites and the development of aerospace industry programs such as Airbus (A350 XWB) and Safran (CFM International LEAP engine).
Thierry Merlot, Hexcel President Europe/Asia-Pacific/Middle East/Africa, explained: “We are able to respond to the needs of aerospace customers and their growing demand for carbon composite materials. The site has already received its first aerospace certifications. We are entering a highly active phase of research and development in order to design new generation materials and processes for the engines and aircraft of tomorrow.”