South Korea’s Kolon Industries Inc. plans to double the output of its para-aramid products by the end of this year through the expansion of its Gumi plant to respond to surging demand.
According to industry sources on Monday, Kolon Industries aims to complete the work to expand its production line at the Gumi plant by the end of this year. The expansion will increase the production capacity to 15,000 tons per year from 7,500 tons.
Aramid fiber, known as “super fiber,” is a polymer polyamide fiber based on an amide group (CONH) and is commonly referred to as the “magic thread” due to its exceptional physical properties.
Despite its thin filament, with a cross-sectional area of only about 1 square millimeter, the fiber can bear the weight of five adults, equivalent to about 350 kilograms.
Aramid can be classified into two major types, meta-aramid and para-aramid, based on its molecular structure. Meta-aramid is used for heat resistance, while para-aramid is employed in applications that require high strength.
Meta-aramid is produced by companies such as Toray Advanced Materials and para-aramid is predominantly manufactured by Kolon Industries.
Para-aramid exhibits exceptional thermal stability, withstanding temperatures of up to 500 degrees Celsius, and maintains its fiber properties even at extremely low temperatures of minus 160 degrees Celsius. It is widely used in bulletproof vests and aerospace materials due to its insulating and chemical-resistant properties.
Recently, there has been a surge in demand for para-aramid as a raw material for 5G fibers. Kolon Industries is the third largest producer of para-aramid globally after DuPont and Teijin in Japan. DuPont is already too large to grow and Teijin is focused on domestic demand.
“We have already received orders beyond our current production capacity, even though we have not yet completed our year-end production line expansion,” said a Kolon Industries spokesperson.
The surge in orders comes on growing demand for 5G fibers since the pandemic due to telecommuting and the use of remote equipment. In North America and Europe, in particular, an increasing number of companies are looking to use para-aramid as a raw material for fiber optic cables rather than regular plastics.
Kolon Industries is expected to supply products to a wider range of customers, not just tire companies, but those in the telecommunications industry.
Source: Kolon Industries