Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Pilot Scale Carbon Fiber Technology FacilityHarper’s full integrated pilot scale Carbon Fiber systems offer features and conditions aligned with production scale systems for customers making higher amounts of material for sampling and trialing yet at smaller quantities than full scale Production Lines.

Pilot line systems are ideal for process optimization, as well as for producing adequate volumes of materials for market development and downstream research. They provide nearly identical conditions as full commercial scale lines, but with the ability to train operators without risk to commercial production, evaluate changes in processing parameters before deploying on full lines, and the ability to identify possible process issues at a smaller scale.

As an example, this cutting-edge 4.3kg per hour pilot scale Carbon Fiber line installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Carbon Fiber Technology Center (pictured right) accommodates small tow size ranges of four 12k or sixteen 3k, a minimum 48k total, and boasts a design centered around advanced piloting, including features to facilitate the customer’s alternative precursor development needs, such as:

  • Belt transport in Ovens and Furnaces for matted or felted product formats
  • Driven pass-back rollers for slip prevention at low loading
  • Internals with a high degree of corrosion resistance for alternative precursor use
  • Three discreet airflow directions

Learn more about Harper’s innovative complete Pilot Line at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s CFTF with this Case Study.

A Complete Partner

Harper’s unique ability to link the many process steps in a Carbon Fiber processing line helps ensure the most efficient performance possible, as evidenced by our leadership position in the market. From initial material handling to final product collection, working with one partner in Harper helps enable the most seamless and fluid plant operation possible. As experts in process integration, our multi-disciplined team is specially positioned to help customers meet their specific technology goals while implementing a line maximized for performance and efficiency.

As with any scale line, Harper offers customized training, service and maintenance options based on the needs of the client. Beyond training, Harper’s commitment to ongoing and rapid response to keep the client and their operations running smoothly and meet evolving / emerging system requirements is well known in the industry.

Additionally, Harper offers testing facilities for its customers if needed prior to equipment investment to assist with scale up and process development, a solution offering unlike any other process line provider.

Material Handling

We take on a comprehensive view of issues pertaining to material transport that extend beyond individual unit operations. Our expertise designing material handling, raw material through product packaging, ensures best functionality, maximizes throughput, minimizes scrap and maintains consistent product quality. Harper offers a variety of feeding and material handling solutions, including creel stations, winders, drive stands, and material conditioning such as combs, moistener, spreader bars, bypass rollers, and centering roll systems, designing the ideal solution for the customer’s unique processing needs.

Carbon Fiber Precursor ProcessingPre & Post Treatment and Material Conditioning

Harper engineers bring a wealth of experience in pre and post-treatment and material conditioning using a variety of solutions. Whether traditional or emerging methods – chemical, electrochemical, plasma, or gaseous treatments – we work with your process to ensure thoughtful management of chemical preparation and minimization and treatment of the effluent solutions from the conditioning. Harper aims to design technologies that integrate seamlessly into the line and deliver on desired technical and business objectives.

Thermal Systems

As the standard in thermal processing technology for carbon fiber since the industry’s inception, Harper offers a range of equipment in thermal regimes beyond what others can, including furnaces and oxidation ovens in lab scale, pilot scale and full production scale sizes. We have the building blocks to design solutions for the most challenging thermal processes, using our years of experience and practice to devising first-of-a-kind, custom systems for world class material manufacturers.

Harper’s most recent 3 meter wide production scale Oxidation Oven demonstrates outstanding performance for key metrics including air velocity uniformity measuring at 2.2%, and temperature uniformity of +/-2.5°C throughout the entire heated length. This innovative oven design enables enhanced performance with higher and more efficient rates of production.

Learn more – Furnace Technologies
Learn more – Oxidation Oven Technologies

Gas Treatment and Handling

Harper approaches gas treatment and handling with several objectives. Not only do our designs focus on managing emissions and treatment of off-gas in an environmentally conscience manner, but we also carefully consider opportunities for energy recovery for use within the process.

Learn more – Gas Treatment and Handling

Control Systems for Carbon Fiber ProductionFully Integrated Controls

From first point of engagement, Harper carefully designs a production plant with rigorous detail and thoughtful consideration of how the facility will be operated.  Our controls group develops sequence of operations (SOP’s) that drive simultaneously toward efficiency, and enhanced product quality. Our fully integrated systems connect all process equipment to one centralized control system, ensuring operation is that of a cooperative plant all functioning on the same control platform.

Learn more – Fully Integrated Control Systems


More about Harper’s comprehensive technology offering in carbon fiber processing for all stages of commercialization:

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