High-Performance Rubber Lanxess to Expand Capacities for High-Performance Rubber in U.S.

Editor: Marion Henig

Lanxess is further expanding its capacities to produce solution styrene butadiene (SSBR) and neodymium polybutadiene (Nd-PBR) rubbers in order to meet growing global demand for high-performance, environmentally friendly ‘green tires’.

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Nd-PBR debottlenecking project completed: (from left to right) Markus Linke (Site Manager, Orange), Dr. Fred Guerin (PBR Production Manager, Orange), and Dr. Joachim Grub (Global Head of Performance Butadiene Rubber, Lanxess) (Picture: Lanxess)
Nd-PBR debottlenecking project completed: (from left to right) Markus Linke (Site Manager, Orange), Dr. Fred Guerin (PBR Production Manager, Orange), and Dr. Joachim Grub (Global Head of Performance Butadiene Rubber, Lanxess) (Picture: Lanxess)

Texas/USA – An additional 20,000 metric tons per annum of the high-performance rubbers will come on stream at the company’s site in Orange, Texas, by the third quarter of 2012. The expansion represents a EUR 10 million investment.

At the same time, Lanxess has completed its debottlenecking project to increase production of Nd-PBR by 15,000 metric tons per annum at its site in Orange. This expansion, which was announced in March last year, is part of a investment totaling EUR 20 million to increase production of Nd-PBR by 50,000 metric tons per annum in Orange, Germany’s Dormagen and Brazil’s Cabo. The additional capacities in Germany and Brazil will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2012. Theses expansions will also lead to an indirect increase in SSBR capacities at the company’s site in Port Jérôme, France.

Synthetic rubber for high-performance ‘green tires’ is the fastest growing sector in the tire industry, with an annual global growth rate of about nine percent. Nd-PBR is part of a tire’s compound and reduces energy consumption more efficiently than many other tire rubbers. It also reduces tire abrasion. SSBR is used in the tread mix of a high-performance tire. It reduces rolling resistance while also improving grip on wet roads.

Demand is being driven by the megatrend mobility as well as motorists calling for higher environmental and safety standards in performance tires. In addition, demand is being accelerated by European Union legislation. As of November 2012, new tires sold in Europe have to be labeled for fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise.

Japanese tire manufacturers voluntarily introduced tire labeling at the start of 2010 and the topic is also under discussion in South Korea.

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