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Thomas Swan Scales up Nanotube Production

Thomas Swan + Co. Ltd. has announced a major step forward in its nanomaterials manufacturing capability with the commissioning of a new, state-of-the-art single-wall carbon nanotube plant at its Consett facility in the UK. The new plant began commercial production in late May and the company has announced that the installation of a second identical plant will be completed by the end of 2010.

The increase in capacity follows a six-year research and pilot manufacturing programme at the site and is in response to increasing commercial demand for Thomas Swan’s high-purity products which are used in a wide range of applications including advanced electronics, high performance composites and fuel cell components.

Speaking at the Nanomaterials 2010 Conference in London Harry Swan, Managing Director of the UK-based family-owned business, provided details of the new plant which can manufacture 50kg per month of high purity single-wall carbon nanotubes sold under the Elicarb® trademark. The company has also decided to invest in a second identical plant that will be commissioned towards the end of 2010 bringing its total capacity up to approximately 100kg per month.

Thomas Swan began production of carbon nanotubes on its original pilot plant in 2004 following four years of development with the University of Cambridge. Since then the business has gained valuable commercial and technical experience through close collaboration with key customers and the University of Oxford. This collaboration has built a stable and profitable carbon nanomaterials business that supplies customers in the USA and Europe, making Thomas Swan a leading player in the sector.

Harry Swan further commented: “We decided to focus on developing the right grade of material with our customers first and then expanding production of this grade as demand increased. The investment in these two new plants is in direct response to increased demand and we are very encouraged to see the market developing in a controlled and sustainable manner.”


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