Lehigh Technologies opens MRP plant in Spain

Production has commenced at Lehigh Technologies’ micronised rubber powder (MRP) plant in Spain. The Murillo el Fruto MRP facility in Navarra was built in partnership with recycling and sustainability specialist Hera Holding and is the first plant for Lehigh Technologies outside the USA.

The Murillo plant incorporates Lehigh’s proprietary cryogenic turbo mill technology and has the capacity to produce 10,000 tonnes of MRP a year. The plant will produce Lehigh’s PolyDyne and MicroDyne ranges, which are already used by customers, including tyre makers, in more than 18 countries around the world. The production line is co-located with Indugarbi NFU, a leading tyre recycler in Spain operated by Hera Holding; this close proximity to a tyre recycling facility will ensure efficient supply of granulate feedstock for the MRP manufacturing process.

Construction of the Navarra plant was managed by Lehigh and executed by UK-based Jex Engineering, with support from the Dennis Group and Air Products. The plant was commissioned at the end of June 2018 and employs the same layout and equipment as Lehigh’s Tucker, Georgia plant in the USA, ensuring consistent quality and products specification across all locations.

“I’m very proud of the international team that made this project successful,” said Jason Stravinski, Lehigh’s vice-president of operations. “Engineers from Lehigh US, Lehigh Spain and Hera Holding all worked together with the Jex project team to complete the project on time and on budget. We expect this plant will be a crucial component to meeting the rising demand for green chemicals in Europe and beyond.”

The plant in Navarra will supply the growing demand for Lehigh’s MRP product range from the tyre, bitumen, coatings, construction and polyurethane industries in Europe and the Middle East.

“Demand for Lehigh’s products is increasing rapidly and this new plant comes at the perfect time to support the growth,” said Lluís Molina, general manager Lehigh Spain. “The Murillo plant is the next step in Lehigh’s mission to commercialise MRP for customers in a wide range of performance driven markets.”

Lehigh Technologies became a subsidiary of Michelin in late 2017. Lehigh will contribute towards achieving Michelin’s recently announced goal that its new tyres will contain 80 per cent sustainable materials by 2048.

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