SGL-MRC venture starts precursor production in Japan for BMW i3

MSP – the joint venture between Mitsubishi Rayon Co Ltd (MRC) and SGL Group – has completed the commissioning phase and has assumed commercial production of precursor. MSP is based at the MRC production site in Otake, Japan, and will deliver first commercial quantities of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) based precursor to SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (SGL ACF) in the second quarter of this year.

“The objective of our joint venture with Mitsubishi Rayon is to ensure the exclusive 50k precursor supply for SGL Group and consequently also for SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, our joint venture with the BMW Group," says Dr Jürgen Köhler, Chairman of SGL Group’s Business Unit Carbon Fibers & Composite Materials.

"Thanks to the close cooperation with our partner Mitsubishi Rayon, we were able to set up the new precursor production within the challenging time schedule as announced one year ago. We are now ready to provide precursor, which is a key success factor for the carbon fibres and fabrics used in the new BMW i3.”

The precursor manufactured by MSP in Otake will be converted to carbon fibres at the SGL ACF plant in Moses Lake, Washington, USA, where SGL ACF is currently building a carbon fibre plant with an annual capacity of approximately 3000 tons. Start of production is scheduled for the tjhird quarter of 2011.

These fibres will then be processed into carbon fibre fabrics at the second SGL ACF site in Wackersdorf, Germany. Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts will be made from these fabrics at the BMW Group plant in Landshut, Germany.

The assembly of the Megacity Vehicle – which will be launched in 2013 as BMW i3 – will take place at BMW's plant in Leipzig, Germany.