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Hyosung capitalizes on carbon fiber

Hyosung Group, a leading textile and heavy machinery maker in Korea, is looking to its carbon fiber brand Tansome for growth.

Tansome is a combination of two words: “tanning,” referring to the characteristic of the carbon fiber production process, and “something special.”

Hyosung developed its own technology for producing carbon fiber and invested 250 billion won ($220 million) in early 2012 to build a plant with an annual production capacity of 2,000 tons in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province. The company said it would invest 1.2 trillion won in the production line to boost annual production up to 17,000 tons by 2020. 
Hyosung’s carbon fiber
Hyosung’s carbon fiber

Carbon fiber consists of over 92 percent carbon and is about 10 times stronger than steel, while weighing only one-fifth of the metal. It is expected to replace steel in the future in a wide range of industries such as aerospace, leisure sports, automobiles and wind power.

“We will work on securing product quality and developing state-of-the art technology to make Hyosung positioned as a world’s leading carbon fiber manufacturer,” said Cho Hyun-sang, head of the industrial materials performance group at Hyosung Group.

“The commercialization of carbon fiber is expected to boost Hyosung’s long-held initiative in the global industrial fabric market.”

According to industry watchers, the global carbon fiber market is forecast to grow to $2 billion or 50,000 tons a year by 2020. The Korean carbon fiber market is also expected to grow 11 percent per year in that period.

Until now, Japanese companies such as Toray Industries and Mitsubishi Rayon have occupied more than 60 percent of global demand, including the Korean market.

The growth of Tansome can help local companies replace carbon fiber imports with home-produced materials, and globally Hyosung will compete with Japanese rivals, the company said.

By Choi In-jeong, Intern reporter