High-end demand keeps wheels turning at Carbon Revolution

Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong (AFCG) member Carbon Revolution has revved up production of one-piece carbon fibre wheels at its Geelong factory despite the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Geelong-based Carbon Revolution continues to innovate and supply its lightweight wheel technology to automotive manufacturers around the world.

The world-leading manufacturer of one-piece carbon fibre composite wheels achieved $10.8 million in sales in the first three months of 2020—up 14% from the previous quarter– as sales volume jumped 8% from the previous quarter, with demand from its high-end global customers showing no sign of faltering.

“All customers continue to request that Carbon Revolution maintains production as they expect resumption of production of relevant car models post lockdown,” the company said in a market update. 

Production of moulded wheels climbed by almost a third to an annualised rate of 32,000 a year in the March quarter, achieved despite disruption to global supply chains from the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting freight availability and cost, and some supply issues with key raw materials

Carbon Revolution, a founding member of the Advanced Fibre Cluster, debuted on the Australian Stock Exchange on November 29 and has successfully innovated, commercialised and industrialised the supply of carbon fibre wheels to the global automotive industry. The Company has progressed from single prototypes to designing and manufacturing high-performing wheels for some of the fastest street cars and most prestigious brands in the world.

Its wheels are made to match the specifications of their metal counterparts at nearly half the weight

After clinching its first major contract with Ford in the US in 2014, supply deals with Ferrari and Renault have followed, backed up by a recent strategic supply agreement, a contract with a global SUV manufacturer, a memorandum of understanding with Mitsui and Co and developing wheels for the Chinook helicopter as part of a Federal Government funded program through the Defence Innovation Hub.  

The market update reveals the business has used the pandemic-induced global slowdown to “fast track” the development and implementation of an industrial technology that improves finished wheel aesthetics.

Management maintains a strong focus on increasing production efficiencies, investment in industrialisation capability, work on new programs and ongoing investment in research and development projects.

“Whilst COVID-19 has impacted the volume ramp-up, manufacturing operations are continuing across all shifts,” the company said. “The industrialisation program is on track with cutting, layup and rim forming assets being installed.”

“The higher moulding rate has led to a short term increase in inventory of wheels in process, which together with this new technology enables a lift in the wheel sales rate through the remainder of this calendar year,” Carbon Revolution says, adding it is researching new fibre and resin technology.

The company is working on new wheel programmes with OEM manufacturers to add to its prestige customer list which includes Ford for the Mustang GT, Ferrari for the 488 SF90, and Renault for the Megane RS Trophy-R. 

During the quarter the company raised $25 million from institutional investors and in April a further $2.7 million from existing shareholders through a share purchase plan.

The company, which purpose-built a 10,000 m² factory in Geelong in order to ramp up production to full scale, has a positive cash balance of $48 million.