Toray Industries is to increase production capacity of Toraypef polyolefin foam with a JPY4bn (US$39m) investment at its Virginia Plant site.

The new facility is expected to start operations at the beginning of 2018 and boost production to 7,500t per year.

Toraypef is a polyolefin foam for various purposes including automobile interior, insulation of consumer electronics and cushion materials for housing and civil engineering.

The company maintains North American carmakers have been increasingly adopting Toraypef as a soft interior material for parts such as door trim.

Moreover, Toray expects the use of the material for instrument panels to increase in addition to door materials, which has been the mainstay application, as automobile manufacturers standardise the design of interior materials.

The decision to increase production capacity is part of the Asia, America and Emerging Country Business Expansion (AE-II) Project, which is promoted under Toray’s Medium-Term Management Programme, to capitalise on the growth of Asia, Americas and emerging countries in other regions.