Dow, Lehigh partner to develop sustainable tyre rubber
Specialty chemical and advanced materials manufacturer Dow Chemical Company and Lehigh technologies, manufacturer of sustainable, micronised rubber powders, have announced their intention to collaborate in order to develop sustainable materials for the tyre industry. Under this partnership, the two companies will combine proprietary technologies to create modified rubber particles, a programme that will combine Dow's expertise in polymer chemistry with Lehigh's strength in sustainable rubber compound development and testing.
“This collaboration is a great opportunity to continue leveraging our latex polymer technology for a sustainable cause,” said Colin Gouveia, general manager, Dow Construction Chemicals. “Dow’s 2015 Sustainability Goals include a focus on technologies that are advantaged by sustainable chemistry and this project is anchored in that same commitment. Further, we’re excited to work with Lehigh’s unique market understanding and application expertise to develop solutions that bring value to the marketplace.”
Lehigh Technologies states that its proprietary manufacturing process takes tyre and other post-industrial rubber materials and “upcycles” them into micron-scale, high quality, sustainable powders that are compatible with customers’ existing formulations, making it easy to integrate them into new or existing products. The company adds that these sustainable powders help tyre makers achieve sustainability goals while helping to manage the high cost of non-renewable raw materials.
To-date, more than 100 million tyres containing Lehigh’s micronised rubber powder have been manufactured, and in June 2011 the company launched its industry-wide ‘Road to One Billion Campaign’ to put one billion tyres manufactured with sustainable materials on the road. “Our primary customer base, the world’s leading tyre companies, has been requesting advanced technologies to enable increased sustainable content in tyres,” said Dr. Alan Barton, chief executive officer of Lehigh Technologies. “The Dow-Lehigh research programme is part of a broader technology programme at Lehigh, aimed at providing sustainable solutions without compromise. Our objective is to have one billion tyres on the road manufactured with our alternative material – our collaboration with Dow is a critical step in realising this significant milestone.”