Zoltek Restructures for Growth

By Composites World – 22 March 2011

Zoltek Corp. (St. Louis, Mo.) has formally restructured its growing commercial-grade carbon fiber business. One result is the creation of three business units: Wind Energy, Composite Intermediates, and Technical Fibers. The new units join Zoltek Automotive, which was established in April 2010 as a major applications-development center. According to the company, the restructuring effort more accurately reflects the way that Zoltek resources align with specific market opportunities and the anticipated future growth within those markets.

The Wind Energy Business Unit, led by Dr. Philip Schell, is structured to capitalize on the market that is generating the most immediate need for Zoltek’s products and has the greatest potential for growth in the future.

The Composite Intermediate Business Unit will focus primarily on the commercialization of value-added carbon fiber products via higher-throughput, lower-cost conversion methods that will consolidate the supply chain and open up new market applications. These value-added products are being developed by Zoltek’s R&D group under the leadership of vice president David Purcell.

Zoltek also will expand its Technical Fibers Business Unit, which includes the Pyron and Panex 30 product lines for aircraft brakes and flame- and heat-resistant applications in automotive and protective clothing.

Peter Oswald, a 25-year veteran in this sector and the former VP of marketing at Toho Tenax America Inc. (Rockwood, Tenn.) has been named VP, technical fibers. He and his team have been tasked with strengthening Zoltek’s position in these markets and developing new applications for heat- and friction-resistant technical fibers.