Located west of Huntsville and north of Birmingham, this is the company’s primary PAN (polyacrylonitrile) precursor plant. PAN is the first step in the carbon fiber manufacturing process, and the Decatur plant, established in 1989, sells PAN only to other Hexcel plants for making carbon fiber, including the company’s Salt Lake City (U.S.) and Illescas (Spain) plants. Carbon fibers are made into prepreg for uni-directional tape or are woven into fabrics at other Hexcel plants around the world. End uses for Decatur products include military and commercial aircraft, blades for wind energy applications, rocket motors, satellites and recreational items such as tennis rackets, golf shafts and carbon frame bicycles. The site also includes a Research and Technology center for PAN precursor and carbon fiber development.