Highly Complex Production Process
The manufacture of butyl rubber is highly complex and involves process steps at temperatures ranging from minus 100 to plus 200 degrees Celsius. The current production process used for butyl rubber has been upgraded and has been implemented in Singapore.
Around 10 percent of the total investment has gone toward technologies that make the butyl rubber plant more environmentally friendly. For example, significantly less steam is used in the manufacturing process than in comparable facilities, leading to lower energy consumption. Chemical compounds from the production process are treated in state-of-the-art thermal off gas units, so that the environment is not affected.
“This process is evidence of our global leadership in rubber manufacturing. I am very proud that we are setting new standards in the industry,” said Ron Commander, Head of the Butyl Rubber business unit.
Ideal Conditions in Singapore
The butyl rubber facility was engineered and constructed by Foster Wheeler Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. on a 150,000 square-meter plot on Singapore’s Jurong Island. The premises have been leased from the JTC Corporation, a Statutory Board under the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Jurong Island is located off the coast of the city-state and offers an infrastructure geared specifically to the needs of the chemical industry, thus providing ideal conditions for Lanxess. For example, the company has secured the long-term supply of isobutene, an important raw material for butyl rubber production, from a neighboring plant. Lanxess also started construction of a new production facility for neodymium-based performance butadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) on Jurong Island last year. The direct proximity of these two plants creates valuable synergies for the company, for example through joint infrastructure and logistics.
Lanxess currently employs around 380 people in Singapore, which is an important hub for the company in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore has been home to the global headquarters of the Butyl Rubber business unit since 2010. The Butyl Rubber business unit is part of Lanxess’ Performance Polymers segment, which recorded sales of € 5.2 billion in 2012.