Evonik boosting Thailand silica capacity
Demand for low rolling resistance tyres, and the materials necessary for their production, has far from peaked. Evonik Industries believes demand will rise by 18 per percent a year for the coming five years, and has responded to this expected growth by increasing capacity for silica. The company plans its silica capacity to reach 30 per cent above 2010 levels by 2014, and part of this increase will come through an expansion of its Maptaphut site in Thailand.
On 23 July, Evonik announced it will make a “lower double-digit million euro” investment to “significantly” expand silica capacity in Thailand; the specialty chemicals firm expects the expansion to be complete next year but hasn’t indicated how many extra tonnes it will add to its current 500,000 tonnes or so of global silica (precipitated and fumed silica as well as matting agents) capacity.
“The purpose of our expansion strategy is to allow us to support the growth of our key customers in Southeast Asia and around the world,” said Dr. Thomas Haeberle, member of the Evonik Executive Board and person responsible for the company’s Resource Efficiency Segment.
Evonik notes that using silica in combination with silanes allows manufacturers to produce tyres that, compared with traditional car tyres, yield fuel savings of up to eight per cent. “We’re the only manufacturer to offer both components, and, for our customers in the tyre and rubber industry, that makes us an expert partner for high-performance tire blends,” commented Dr. Johannes Ohmer, president of Evonik’s Inorganic Materials business unit. Expanding production capacity will increase the proportion of production carried out in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Currently Evonik has a global capacity of around 500,000 tonnes per annum for precipitated and fumed silica as well as matting agents.