Lanxess Boosting Butyl Rubber Capacity in Belgium
Production capacity at Lanxess’ butyl rubber facility in Zwijndrecht, Belgium is to be expanded by ten per cent to meet growing global demand for butyl and halobutyl synthetic rubber. The company has announced its intention to invest 20 million euros to lift annual capacity by 14,000 tonnes to around 149,000 tonnes, with the required work being mainly undertaken during a scheduled plant turnaround in the third quarter of 2011. The changes necessary to accommodate this higher capacity are anticipated to be in place and completed in the second quarter of 2012, and Lanxess comments the plant will produce a “superior quality” of butyl rubber.
“Overall demand for butyl rubber has returned to pre-crisis levels already this year,” said Axel C. Heitmann, chairman of Lanxess’ Board of Management. “And in the coming decade, we expect demand to grow further so that the new capacities in Antwerp and from our upcoming plant in Singapore will be fully absorbed by the market.” According to the company, the additional capacity will help serve the rising demand for tyres being driven by the global mega-trend towards greater mobility, particularly amongst the growing middle-class in emerging markets such as China and India. Furthermore, butyl rubber’s properties make it an important product of choice for the pharmaceutical industry, especially in Asia.
The Belgium plant is currently one of two butyl rubber facilities Lanxess operates; production also takes place at its 150,000 tonne per annum Sarnia, Canada plant. Both sites are currently running at full capacity. Lanxess is also building a new butyl rubber facility in Singapore, which will have a total capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum and is expected to enter service in the first quarter of 2013. The company’s Butyl Rubber business unit has annual sales of over 500 million euros.