German specialty chemical company, Laxness announced it would convert its emulsion styrene butadiene rubber (E-SBR) production facility to solution styrene butadiene rubber (S-SBR), following an in-depth market study on the current and future scenario of SBR. This shift would take place at the company’s production site at Triunfo, Brazil that currently has an E-SBR production capacity of over 110,000 tons.
The new S-SBR facility would have an identical production capacity of 110,000 tons per year and would be completely operational by end of 2014. The facility is equipped with high-end technology in order to manufacture the latest grades of S-SBR. The new project would require an investment of EUR 80 million that would be financed through the company’s earnings and would provide temporary employment to over 500 people.
The conversion is one among the many new synthetic rubber investments the company has done in the Brazilian region, signifying its commitment to the region and its employees. The company aims to provide the consumers with the best technology in order to help them fulfill their goals.
E-SBR is extensively used in the treads of truck tires and in replacement tires, which helps in reducing the consumption of raw material. In contrast, S-SBR is extensively used in the production of high performance tires which have low rolling resistance and in turn provide the automobile with a better fuel economy. Lanxess has increased the capacities for high performance rubbers, neodymium- based performance butadiene rubber (Nd-PBR), and SBR in the last two years. In addition to the 70,000 tons expansion, the company also has an S-SBR production facility in port Jerome, France.
In late 2012, the European Union issued tire labeling regulations under which all the new tires manufactured or imported in the EU need to be mandatorily labeled for wet grip and rolling resistance. This was done with the intention of providing consumers added transparency with respect to the advantages offered by green tires. Brazil plans to implement similar regulations by October 2016. The growth of both forms of rubber is estimated to be over ten percent annually as consumers shift to better efficiency and eco-friendly tires.