Styron, the global materials company and manufacturer of plastics, latex and rubber, today announced that it will convert its Nickel Butadiene Rubber (Ni-BR) production train in Schkopau, Germany, to Neodymium Butadiene Rubber (Nd-BR).
Coupled with Styron’s existing leading technology in Solution Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SSBR), the Nd-BR offering will allow Styron to help customers around the world meet the increasing demand for green tires/ultra-high performance tires.
“The Nd-BR development allows us to further grow our rubber business, broaden our product range and maintain product leadership,” says 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 eight world-scale rubber trains that supply tire 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 for ultra-high performance tires with lower rolling resistance
Nd-BR is a synthetic rubber used mainly in the production of tires as well as in a variety of other applications such as industrial rubber goods and polymer modification. The major trend in tires is towards low rolling resistance, which significantly contributes to improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. Nd-BR in ultra-high performance tires 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 tires.
Demand driven by new Global legislation
This evolution in tire technology is accelerated by strict environmental legislation focusing on less fuel consumption and including minimum low rolling resistance. The mandatory performance labeling of tires, including a minimum rolling resistance, was formally introduced in 2010 in Japan, 2012 in Europe and is expected to be implemented in 2015 in China as well as in 2016 in North America and Latin America. As a result, the demand for greener, ultra-high performance tires is growing globally. Another key driver is coming from the major tire manufacturers who request material for ultra high performance tires.
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.