An integrated chemical industry group developing its business in twenty nine countries and regions, Toray Group fuses nanotechnology into its operations, using organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry and biotechnology. In addition to the Foundation Businesses of fibers and textiles and plastics and chemicals, Toray Group promotes the global development of IT-related products, carbon fiber composite materials, pharmaceuticals and medical products, environment and engineering including water treatment.
Toray Industries is one of the leading global producers of synthetic fibers and textiles, worldwide. The company has a long history of innovation and technological excellence, and its products are widely used in apparel, automotive, industrial, and medical applications, among others. Toray’s textiles are known for their superior strength and durability, as well as their unique aesthetic qualities. They are also highly resistant to heat, chemicals, and ultraviolet light, making them ideal for a wide variety of uses. Through its commitment to research, development, and production, Toray has become a leader in the industry and continues to be a major player in the global textile market.
Toray Industries has quite an interesting history that dates back to 1926, when it was established as Toyo Rayon by Mitsui Bussan, one of the two largest Japanese trading companies of the time. The fact that Mitsui did not name the company as a Mitsui company is an indication of their skepticism of the risk on the business since they did not have the right technology to produce Rayon. The company had approached both Courtaulds and Du Pont to buy the technology but, because the price was too high, it bought the equipment from a German engineering company and hired foreign engineers.
When Nylon was invented in 1935 by Wallace Carothers of DuPont, Toray got hold of a sample through the New York City branch of Mitsui Bussan, and immediately started research by dissolving the sample in sulfuric acid. Because of the patent protection, the company had to synthesise polyamide and make its own fibre. In 1941, Toray completed its research on nylon and started building a small plant to produce Nylon 6. The operation started in 1943 and the product was sold primarily to make fishing nets. In 1946, following the end of World War II, Du Pont requested an investigation by the General Headquarters of Allied Powers to look into Toray’s possible infringement of Du Pont’s nylon patents but no evidence of infringement was discovered, certifying that Toray’s nylon technology was indeed its own.
Toray is now expanding its integrated supply chain that handles everything from textiles to sewn products, with a focus on three major synthetic fibers: nylon, polyester, and acrylic. Their products have been adopted in a wide range of applications used across all walks of life from clothing right through to general goods and industrial materials. This year, the company announced that it was rebranding its &+™ brand for fiber made from recycled PET bottles. The move reflects the company’s commitment towards contributing to a sustainable society through its textile business. What’s more, it is renowned today as one of the top ten largest textile companies in the world.
Since, the company has diversified into other industries as well, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical products, water treatment membranes, electronics, IT products, and more. Toray is currently the world’s largest producer of carbon fiber and Japan’s largest producer of synthetic fiber. Its carbon fiber is extensively used in exterior components of Boeing 787 airliner. In 2014, as a major aerospace composites supplier, Toray opened a polyacrylonitrile, the carbon fiber precursor, production line in Lacq, south-western France. In 2018, Toray acquired TenCate Advanced Composites, a specialist in thermoplastic and thermoset prepreg manufacturing, to advance carbon fiber production capabilities. The purchase price, per a statement issued by Toray, was €930 million.
An integrated chemical industry group developing its business in 29 countries and regions worldwide.
Akihiro Nikkaku, President
Currently, Toray Group deals in Fibers and Textiles <nylon, polyester, acrylics of filament yarns, staple fibers, spun yarns, woven and knitted fabrics of nylon, polyester and acrylics; non-woven fabrics; man-made suede, apparel products>; Performance Chemicals <nylon, ABS, PBT, PPS and other resins and molded products; polyolefin foam; polyester, polyethylene, polypropylene and other films and processed film products; raw materials for synthetic fibers and other plastics; fine chemicals; electronic and information materials and graphic materials>; Carbon Fiber Composite Materials <carbon fibers, carbon fiber composite materials and their molded products>; Environment and Engineering <comprehensive engineering; condominiums; industrial equipment and machinery; environment-related equipment; water treatment membranes and related equipment; materials for housing, building and civil engineering applications; and Life Science <pharmaceuticals and medical devices>.