Specialty chemicals company Lanxess officially has inaugurated its new neodymium butadiene rubber (Nd-BR) plant in Singapore. Located next to Lanxess’ existing butyl rubber plant on Jurong Island, the world-scale facility represents an investment of approximately €200 million.
Shanghai/China – With an annual production capacity of 140,000 metric tons, the plant has generated roughly 100 highly skilled jobs, which have largely been filled by local residents. Production will be ramped up gradually. The facility will produce Nd-BR for global markets, with an emphasis on the growing Asian markets.
“Together with our adjacent butyl rubber plant, the opening of this new butadiene rubber plant reinforces the strategic role of Singapore as our hub for synthetic rubber production for the Asian markets,” said Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the Board of Management of Lanxess.
The close proximity of Lanxess’ two synthetic rubber production sites on Jurong Island has enabled shared infrastructure and logistics, resulting in exceptionally lean and efficient operations.
A Global Production Network for High-performance Rubber
The new plant in Singapore is Lanxess’ first Nd-BR site in Asia, and joins the nine additional production facilities operated by the company’s Tire & Specialty Rubber (TSR) business unit in North and South America and Europe. In addition to Nd-BR, the business unit produces other varieties of butadiene rubber, including solution styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) and several types of butyl rubber.
“This latest facility is the culmination of the best technologies and practices from our other production sites. Now, with our truly global production footprint, we are exceptionally well positioned to serve the tire industry and other customer industries worldwide,” said Jorge Nogueira, Head of the TSR business unit.
Nd-BR is the most advanced butadiene rubber. It serves a vital function in tire walls and treads, increasing fuel efficiency and enabling ‘green’ tires. It also reduces tire abrasion, which means it can be used to make cars safer as well as more economical. The use of Nd-BR makes it possible to produce tires that offer low rolling resistance and a high level of durability and safety.
A practical tire test carried out by Lanxess together with a global chemical logistics provider demonstrated that “green” tires can reduce the fuel consumption of trucks by 8.5 percent. Another test conducted jointly with RheinEnergie, a German energy provider, has shown that “green” tires can reduce the fuel consumption of passenger vehicles by as much as 7 percent in urban traffic.
In addition to its use in the manufacture of high-performance tires, Nd-BR also plays a part in improving the performance of golf balls, running shoes and conveyor belts.