Styron converting Ni-BR rubber line to neodymium-BR to meet UHP tyre demand
Styron, the rubber material supplier, is to convert its Nickel Butadiene Rubber (Ni-BR) production line in Schkopau, Germany, to Neodymium Butadiene Rubber (Nd-BR) manufacturing. Coupled with Styron’s existing technology in Solution Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SSBR), the company believes the Nd-BR offering will allow Styron to help customers around the world meet the increasing demand for green and ultra-high performance tyres.
“The Nd-BR development allows us to further grow our rubber business, broaden our product range and maintain product leadership,” said Francesca Reverberi, global business director of Synthetic Rubber, Styron. “The investment builds on the success of the third SSBR train in Schkopau that we brought on-line in late 2012, as well as the expanded capacity we took over earlier this year. These investments are all driven to serve our global tire customers.”
In February, Styron announced an agreement with material supplier JSR to acquire its production capacity rights at Schkopau, essentially doubling Styron’s capacity of one train.
New production line operational in 2015
The conversion of the Ni-BR production line in Schkopau will begin this year and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Nd-BR production line will supply customers around the world. Styron’s Schkopau production site currently hosts seven rubber production lines that supply tyre customers around the world.
“Schkopau, Germany, is the ideal location for Styron to make this investment because of its longstanding expertise in rubber technology,” says Marco Levi, senior vice president and business president of Emulsion Polymers, Styron. “Styron invests continuously in R&D and production capacity to support our customers around the world.”
Nd-BR is a synthetic rubber used mainly in the production of tyres as well as in a variety of other applications such as industrial rubber goods and polymer modification. Nd-BR in ultra-high performance tyres allows the increase of elasticity/endurance and durability of the wear which results in improved fatigue resistance and groove cracking resistance, better abrasion resistance, higher rebound resilience as well as a lower heat build-up under dynamic stress which ultimately leads to improved rolling resistance in tyres.
As we all know this has been driven by legislation such as 2012’s European tyre labelling rules. However, this trend is spreading around the world. The mandatory performance labelling of tires, including a minimum rolling resistance, was formally introduced in 2010 in Japan and is expected to be implemented in China in 2015 and in North America and Latin America in 2016.
Styron previously announced plans to change the name of all Styron affiliated companies to Trinseo. Some, but not all, of the Styron companies are currently known as Trinseo; Styron companies that have not yet changed their names will continue to do business as Styron until their respective name changes are complete. Styron’s operating companies also continue to do business as Styron at this time.