Asbury Carbons has officially opened its 9th graphite and carbon plant in Maastricht, Netherlands and is expected to start processing material within a matter of days.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence was invited to attend the Grand Opening of the plant which is the first of its kind for Asbury within Europe and builds on the 7 similar operations the company has in the US and 1 in Mexico.
While Asbury has long been a supplier of graphite and carbon products to the European market, it has previously had to ship material from North America and compete with companies that are predominately based in Germany.
The new plant, which has a capacity of up to 25,000 tpa for all graphite and carbon products, will increase Asbury’s competitiveness within Europe in today’s marketplace, and position the company to capture a significant portion of any growth that is likely to emerge in the carbon field.
Asbury, a 119 year old company that is still family-owned and run, has long served global industrial markets with high quality granular and micronized graphite products derived from all forms of natural graphite (flake, amorphous, vein).
The plant will also increase Asbury’s production clout in cokes, carbon black, anthracite and synthetic graphite.
Asbury is also moving forward into the nano-carbon space with the development of what it has described as graphene precursor material.
With the interest in graphene booming, the company is targeting customers who are seeking a graphene product – defined as 1-3 layers of carbon – with a nano-graphite product that is 6-8 layers.
A long term trend in the graphite industry has been to produce purer and finer products. A graphene precursor is the next logical step for the industry that has been trending this way for the last 20 years.
The company explained to Benchmark that it is not yet targeting the battery market with a spherical graphite product due to significant over capacity in China and the fact that over 95% of the world’s production of spherical graphite produced in China.
China’s low production cost base has kept any new players out of the market so far.
Asbury did confirm that it sees spherical graphite as the largest growth market for natural flake graphite.