German speciality firm Lanxess’s subsidiary Rhein Chemie has opened a new production facility at the Porto Feliz site in Brazil, to produce 170,000/year Rhenoshape high-performance curing bladders, which are used in tyre manufacture.
Rhein Chemie has been successfully producing Rhenogran polymer-bound rubber additives (Rhenogran) in Porto Feliz for more than ten years now. An expansion adding advanced equipment for manufacturing polymer-bound rubber additives will follow in the coming year. The project represents an investment of roughly EUR10 million and will create up to 60 new jobs in Porto Feliz.
“Brazil is the sixth largest economy in the world, and it is the biggest and most important market in South America for Rhein Chemie. Thus, it is only natural that we are so focused on supplying sophisticated, high-tech products to the Brazilian automotive and tyre industries”, said Dr. Anno Borkowsky, CEO and President of Rhein Chemie, Mannheim, Germany, at the inauguration ceremony. “Our customers place a high value on their ability to source Rhenoshape curing bladders locally, from our offices here in Brazil. And so it made perfect sense for us to erect the production facility.”
More and more tyre manufacturers are outsourcing bladder production because it is more cost-effective for them to concentrate on their core business. As a specialist with experience and innovative strength, Rhein Chemie is focusing on manufacturing bladders and is consistently working to achieve new breakthroughs in bladder technology. This ensures the bladders deliver a corresponding level of quality and performance. For instance, Rhenoshape bladders are said to have a much longer service life due in part to their high level of uniformity. In other words, depending on the tyre factory and type of tyre, they can produce up to three times more tyres. In addition to possible better productivity, the greatly improved thermal conductivity of the bladder compound and other factors boost the quality of the tyre, thus increasing safety and reducing rolling resistance – and fuel consumption, says the firm.
Rhein Chemie entered the bladder market less than two and a half years ago with the acquisition of the Argentinian company Darmex. The company has already successfully expanded its bladder production capacity in Argentina. The purchase of US company Tire Curing Bladders last year added special bladder sizes as those used for the tyres of trucks and earthmovers as well as bladders for tyre building machines (Rhenobuild) to the portfolio. “Rhein Chemie is now the largest independent bladder manufacturer in the world. We also provide our customers with the added convenience of one-stop shopping, as we are able to supply release agents, bladder coatings and tyre tread marking inks from a single source. And when we look forward at the prospects for our markets in the years to come, we are very optimistic indeed,” added Dr. Borkowsky.