The company’s operations are divided into two lines of business: Engineered Solutions and Industrial Materials.
GrafTech has customers in over 70 countries and represent a wide range of industries and end markets, including steel manufacturing, automotive products, advanced energy and electronics.
GrafTech operates 18 facilities, including 13 principal manufacturing facilities and employs approximately 2,400 people.
GrafTech’s Industrial Materials segment is focused on the global steel market. This segment represents approximately 80 percent of the company’s sales and includes the following product lines:Graphite electrodes: Consumable product used to conduct electricity to melt scrap steel in electric arc furnaces.
Needle coke: Primary raw material in the production of graphite electrodes.
Refractories: Insulating brick technology for hearth walls installed in modern integrated steel furnaces worldwide.
The Engineered Solutions segment addresses a number of other high-growth markets, represents approximately 20 percent of corporate sales and includes four lines of business:Advanced Graphite Materials: A wide range of highly engineered synthetic graphite products that are used in a variety of end markets, including solar, oil and gas exploration, and transportation.
Advanced Energy Technologies: Thin, lightweight, flexible graphite solutions used to dissipate heat in applications requiring significant thermal management, including flat panel displays, smartphones and LED lighting.
Advanced Composite Materials: Carbon fiber-based products manufactured by subsidiary company Fiber Materials, Inc. (FMI)
Advanced Materials: Carbon and graphite powders
Electric arc furnace
Mobile computing and entertainment
Oil and gas
Solid state lighting
Heating and cooling
GrafTech’s business was founded in 1886 as the National Carbon Company, which then merged with Union Carbide in 1917, and the business that would later become GrafTech began to operate as the Carbon Products Division of Union Carbide.
In 1914, the company introduced the first 12-inch diameter graphite electrodes.
In 1956, the company received an Academy Award for the development and production of a high-efficiency yellow flame carbon for motion picture color photography.
Between 1956–1978, the company Develops high performance carbon fibers; this work is recognized in 2003 with a National Historic Chemical Landmark from the American Chemical Society.
In 1985, the company Develops advanced technology for carbon/carbon composites used in spacecraft.
Union Carbide was reorganized in 1989, with the Carbon Products Division renamed as the UCAR Carbon Company.
In 1990, the company introduced first 30-inch diameter graphite electrodes for UHP DC arc furnaces
In 1995, the company developed new graphite for the US Advanced Battery Consortium for lithium batteries in electric vehicles.
In 1995, the company went public via an initial public offering.
In 1999, the company developed first natural graphite-based heat spreaders for electronic thermal management.
In 2002, the company changed its name from UCAR to Graftech.
In 2004, the company introduced optimized pinless joint design for large-diameter graphite electrodes.
In 2007, the company commercialized high-temperature insulation solutions for the polysilicon and solar industries .
In 2010, the company launched high thermal conductivity SPREADERSHIELD™ products for electronics and lighting applications.
In late 2010, GrafTech acquired two companies: Seadrift Coke LP, a manufacturer of needle coke, which is an essential component in the production of graphite electrodes; and C/G Electrodes LLC, which manufactures graphite electrodes.
In February 2011, the company acquired Micron Research Corporation, a manufacturer of superfine-grained graphite.
In October 2011, GrafTech acquired advanced carbon composite manufacturer Fiber Materials. Fiber Materials was sold in 2016.
Between 2003–2011, the company won 7 R&D 100 Awards in 9 years.
In 2011, the company Dedicated two historical markers awarded by the Ohio Historical Society. One is for pioneering battery research made at Parma by Lewis Urry and National Carbon Company. The other recognizes the Lakewood facility’s long history and National Carbon Company.
In August 2015, GrafTech was purchased by Brookfield Asset Management.
On April 1, 1998, the company was subject to a class action lawsuit for allegedly artificially inflating stock price. In 2000, the class members won a settlement of $40.5 million.
In 2001, the company was fined €50.4 million by the European Commission and $110 million by the United States Department of Justice for participating in an international price-fixing cartel with seven other firms in the market for graphite electrodes.