Joint venture seeks new tyre applications for urethanes
Use in tyres, particularly in harsh environments such as underground mines, is just one of a number of areas the product of a new partnership will be applied to. Specialty chemicals company Chemtura Corporation and machinery firm Caterpillar Inc. have announced their entry into a joint venture agreement to explore “novel applications” for Chemtura’s Duracast hot-cast urethane pre-polymer technology for construction and mining equipment.
“Duracast technology is an ideal material for this type of innovative program with varied end-use possibilities,” said Matthew Hellstern, general manager and president of Chemtura’s Urethanes business. “Its versatility and superior abrasion characteristics lend it to a wide range of potential new applications. Its ease of use, low-waste characteristics, and adaptability to automation yield higher productivity, and efficiency, providing significant added value to end-use customers in niche segments. The multiyear joint development programme supports Chemtura’s philosophy to bring greater value to our customers through product and application innovation.”
The joint development agreement focuses on several applications in construction and mining equipment where urethanes have not previously been used, with the objective of providing significant value through productivity and efficiency gains. Initial products to be jointly developed include non-pneumatic tyres for certain Cat machines. Prototype development is under way with field evaluation expected to begin by early 2013.
“Caterpillar is constantly looking for ways to differentiate our products and provide solutions that help make our customers more successful, and this partnership with Chemtura is an example of that commitment,” said Greg Folley, vice-president of Caterpillar’s Remanufacturing and Components Division. “We’re focusing first on tyres for applications in some of the harshest operating environments. Non-pneumatic tyres have proven durable in job sites like underground mining, where there is a high risk of cuts and punctures. If we can give our customers another choice that is both durable and sustainable – because urethane tyres have high reusability potential – then we’re delivering value to our customers.”
Under the agreement, other potential applications of Duracast technology may include debris guards for use behind tyres, ground engagement accessories and wear reduction coatings.