South Korea’s Kolon Industries Inc. will beef up domestic aramid fiber production by 50 percent by the first quarter of 2020 to meet a surge in demand for the super-strong fiber after it entered the North American market, the company said Monday.
After the plant expansion, Kolon Industries will be capable of producing 7,500 tons of aramid fibers annually, up 50 percent from the current level, at its Gumi plant in North Gyeongsang Province, according to the company. It did not disclose the investment amount.
On Monday, Kolon Industries shares closed 1.46 percent higher at 69,300 won ($61.39) in Seoul trading.
Aramid fiber is a type of heat-resistant and strong synthetic fibers. Its tensile strength is five times stronger than iron of the same weight and withstands repeated heating above 500 degrees Celsius. It is used in a wide range of industries, from the military as ballistic-rated body armor to bicycle tires and fiber-optic cables.
The company said it has decided to ramp up production to meet the burgeoning aramid fiber demand from global fiber optic cable, rubber-filler and hybrid tire-cord makers.
The company began studying to develop its own aramid fiber in 1979 then released its own product under the brand name of ‘Heracron’ in 2005. Since then, it has continued to upgrade the product quality and raise production yield.
It has been running its aramid fiber production lines at full capacity since last year and has actively increased its client base. After focusing primarily in Asia and Europe, it added North America as its export destination in 2015.
It expects global aramid fiber market to grow 5 percent on average annually over the next five years from current 70,000 tons.