Graftech International is a company with 125 years of experience in the carbon and graphite industry. They supplied the City of Cleveland with the very first set of electric street lamps in the world way back in the late 1800’s and have grown from these auspicious beginnings to be one of the leading companies in the graphite material science. Winners of seven Research and Development 100 Awards in the last nine years they continue to innovate in metal production, electronics, chemicals, aerospace and transportation. Their products, which include graphite materials and flexible graphite are manufactured on four continents and are sold to 65 countries.

GrafTech manufacture an expanded natural graphite foil that keeps most of the properties of the Graphene (thermal, electrical, and possibly acoustic). The graphite-foil is used in the iPhone, the new Samsung 3D TVs, and a lot of other phones and devices.

Graftech is placed 12th in the list of top companies with patent applications in the field of graphene. With just under twenty patents applied for they are proving themselves to be not only innovators in the production of graphite but also in the materials science of graphene. The patent applications have slowed down in recent years but this approach mirrors the activity of the larger companies like Canon, GSI and Cyclics.

The company hasn’t always had an easy time however, in the late 1990’s the company was pursued by the US Department of Justice on price fixing, an investigation which resulted in the CEO being sent to jail and the company being penalised with hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. The stock plummeted and the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. It took until 2006 for the company to recover to a state of consistent profitability and until the third quarter of 2009 for the company to pay off the last of its debt.  After earning $45 million in 2006, earnings jumped to $138 million in 2007 and $242 million in 2008. Profits fell to $63 million in 2009, when the company cut its electrode production in half because of a drop in global steel production. The company largely recovered in 2010, earning $146 million.

The company strategy is geared towards the customer and is solution focused. Identifying customer needs and heavily investing in research and development are the key features of the company’s current aims. The explicit ambitions of GrafTech are contained within a four pronged strategic plan focused on:

  • Expanding and exploiting our unique,
    industry leading positions in new and
    existing markets
  • Accelerating commercialization
    of advantaged technologies
  • Acquiring complimentary assets
    to accelerate throughput
  • Strengthening our
    organization’s capabilities

The projected growth for 2012 is anticipated to reflect a 15% increase in total revenue