Lehigh expands R&D capabilities

Sustainable materials company Lehigh Technologies Inc. has strengthened its research and development capabilities by investing in new mixing and analytical equipment for its Application and Development Center (ADC) and through the appointment of Chad Jasiunas as technical manager for functional materials. This expansion enables Lehigh to further promote the adoption of its sustainable micronised rubber powder (MRP) material in green tyre applications.

“The global green tyre market is expected to grow significantly over the next five years,” said Alan Barton, CEO of Lehigh Technologies. “Lehigh has positioned itself to support this growth by establishing best-in-class research and development facilities and a strong technical team. These latest expansions are an important part of that strategy and will reinforce peer-level technical relationships with major tyre companies.”

Jasiunas joins Lehigh’s ADC team with more than a decade of international experience in the development of solution-SBR systems. Prior to joining Lehigh, he worked at major tyre and rubber companies, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Poland-based Synthos S.A., Europe’s largest manufacturer of emulsion rubber polymers.

“Chad brings with him years of top-tier experience as a solution-SBR research engineer,” said Adel Halasa, Ph.D., a Lehigh Advisory Board member. “His background in both solution and functional SBR technologies will help Lehigh to continue delivering MRP-based functional systems for green tyre applications that provide optimum performance and sustainability.”

In addition to expanding its technology team, Lehigh has invested in advanced silica-silane mixing and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) capabilities. The new internal mixing unit was custom-built to Lehigh specifications and includes precision speed and temperature control as well as capability for mixing high viscosity silica-silane-SBR compounds. The new DMA is a Metravib model DMA+ 1000. The capabilities of this unit include measurement of predictive parameters critical to green tyre performance such as rolling resistance, traction and handling under a wide range of conditions.

“Having advanced mixing and DMA testing capabilities is critical to the development of functional materials based on MRP,” said Tom Rosenmayer, Lehigh’s vice-president of technology. “Among its peers, Lehigh is unique in having this capability in-house, enabling us to work more efficiently with our customers to develop innovative solutions to meet their needs.”

Lehigh shares that the lower costs associated with MRP materials increase the sustainability profile of end products and deliver performance without sacrificing the reliability and performance offered by traditional raw materials. The company’s customer base is said to already include five of the top ten global tyre companies, and more than 250 million tyres have been manufactured using its MRP technology.

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