Unifrax to Build its First SiFAB Manufacturing Line in Indiana

September 11, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

Unifrax announces plans to build its first silicon fiber anode material manufacturing line to provide more sustainable battery power.

Unifrax announces plans to build its first silicon fiber anode material manufacturing line to provide more sustainable battery power.

Unifrax is a global manufacturer and supplier of insulation products including unique fibers and inorganic materials for high-temperature industrial, automotive, solar power storage, and fire protection applications.

The company’s product offerings include emission control mounting mats, furnace hardware, marine blankets, thermal insulation modules, chopped and unchopped bulk fiber, fire protection products, and more. In June of this year, Unifrax announced its plans to construct its first large-scale SiFAB (silicon fiber anode material) manufacturing line at its north-central Indiana facility.

Image used courtesy of Unifrax



SiFAB is a next-generation battery anode material that is able to provide a higher energy density for lithium-ion battery (LiB) systems than other existing technologies utilizing graphite. The technology has also been designed and chosen because of its ability to provide faster charging for electric vehicles (EVs), portable electronics, aerospace, power tool, and energy grid storage applications.

The structure of the proprietary anode material combines a particular shape and porosity that enables silicon to swell. This property provides the battery with a long life cycle, which is another benefit when considering the above applications. SiFAB provides manufacturers with a drop-in solution with micron-sized silicon fibers and a nanoporous structure that has been shown to work well with existing mixing equipment. The silicon-based anode material can be mixed into anode slurry with existing battery manufacturing processes. Slurry mixing and coating is an important step in battery production.

The SiFAB technology exhibits micron-sized silicon fibers with a built-in nanoporous structure. Image used courtesy of Unifrax

Slurries for lithium-ion electrodes often contain a solvent, the active material (anode or cathode), and carbon black. All of these components combine to ensure electrical conductivity, a binder for the cohesion between the particles and the adhesion of the electrode layer to the current collector.

In a news release, the President and CEO of Unifrax, John Dandolph, said, “SiFAB is the latest development using fiber-based technology to create step-change value for customers. This transformational material represents another addition to our robust electric vehicle and battery solutions portfolio.” Dandolph added, “Unifrax is a large, global manufacturing company introducing game-changing advanced silicon anode materials that can be used in existing manufacturing processes. Our track record and proven ability to develop new and unique technologies will help transform the battery industry with SiFAB. The ability to leverage our existing facility and add new infrastructure to support SiFAB manufacturing in New Carlisle will significantly accelerate the timeline for supplying this critical material to our partners. We are appreciative of the ongoing partnership between the State of Indiana and St. Joseph County as we leverage the footprint of our existing facility to bring new jobs and opportunities to the region.”

In the same news release, the Senior Vice President of Research and Development (R&D) at Unifrax, Chad Cannan, also provided his comments, “We designed SiFAB from its inception to be manufactured at large scale so that we could supply all market segments (EV’s, consumer electronics, power tools, and renewable storage),  utilize our existing global manufacturing footprint, and deliver a product that has a high degree of quality and consistency.”



Unifrax intends to use its existing plant in New Carlisle and update its infrastructure to prepare for SiFAB production. The Indiana plant will be used to begin building SiFAB long-term manufacturing capacity. The new SiFAB manufacturing line could help to generate 74 new jobs by the end of 2023.

Unifrax is working in partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation who has offered up to $1.1 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These are performance-based tax credits, which means that the company can claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. Hoosier is a term used to describe an inhabitant of the state of Indiana.

The company began its journey over 70 years ago with its Fiberfrax ceramic fiber product line and continues to innovate. Unifrax’s most recent technological advancements include low bio-persistent fiber products, thermal management solutions, new industrial catalysis technology (FlexCat), and catalyst support fiber for reducing transport emissions (Eco-lytic).