Lanxess to improve French production site for green tyres

To further enhance productivity and energy efficiency, specialty chemicals group Lanxess is investigating in its production site for high-performance rubber in Port Jérôme, France. The group plans to invest some EUR30 million at the site by 2015. The plant produces high-performance rubbers neodymiumpolybutadiene (Nd-PBR) and solution styrene-butadiene (SSBR), rubber grades used primarily for the production of green tyres.
“The production of high performance rubbers in Port Jérôme plays a key role in our global strategy. We support global megatrends with our innovations and technologies. A particular focus here is solutions for sustainable mobility,” said Axel C. Heitmann, Chairman of the Board of Management of Lanxess AG, at a celebration of the site’s 50th anniversary.
The group specialises in synthetic high-performance rubber for green tyres. With annual growth rates of around 10%, this is the fastest-growing segment of the global tire industry. According to Lanxess, increasing demand for green tyres is being driven by the megatrend of mobility, particularly in Asia and Latin America. The company also expects increased demand in Europe as a result of the EU labeling requirement for tyres that enters into force in November 2012.
According to current forecasts, around 2 billion new tires will be produced worldwide in 2015. At the moment, this figure is around 1.6 billion. This represents an increase of around 25% for the entire tire industry.
The plant in Port Jérôme currently has a production capacity of 140,000 metric tonnes per year. It was established in 1962 by tyre maker Firestone and Lanxess took ownership of the site in 2004, and has since invested some EUR30 million in the modernisation of the plant.
Lanxess is also planning a new plant for Nd-PBR rubber in Singapore. The new plant which will cost some EUR 200 million to build, is scheduled to start production in 2015.