Lanxess A.G. has launched two NdPBR rubber grades to ease the production of fuel-efficient tires.
Buna Nd 22 EZ and Buna Nd 24 EZ are characterized by high molar masses necessary to fabricate tires with low rolling resistance, but according to the company they still are easy to process with its new rubber modification technology.
"We want to help our customers," said Judy Douglas, technical marketing manager for performance butadiene rubber, North America. "We want to help supply them with the tools they need to get the best tire possible. We often talk as polymer chemists what's going to take them there, what's holding them back."
The grades will be produced at the company's Dormagen, Germany, plant. Lanxess' facility in Orange, Texas, also has the capability to produce the grades, but it isn't making them yet.
Buna Nd 22 EZ gives the performance of the Buna CB22 grade, but the processing of Buna CB24, which is a lower Mooney viscosity.
Douglas said Buna Nd 24 EZ pro-cesses such as a CB1203, which is a cobalt polybutadiene.
The company said the new grades act as alternatives to NdPBR Buna CB22 and Buna CB24, both widely used in the tire industry. Douglas said the new grades are not intended to replace the standard ones.
"I don't see us discontinuing our standard grades by any means," she said. "We have a lot of big volume customers on it. This is just another tool to help customers increase their productivity or just get better products than they currently make now."
The grades were officially released Oct. 1 after approximately a year of development. Douglas said customers have responded very well so far.
"I think we're just at the tip," Douglas said of future applications for the new grades. "We're putting it out on the market, so does it make sense now to blend some of the standard grades with the modified grades? I think there will be a unique solution for every customer depending on their formulations and their application."
Lanxess inaugurated a new butyl plant in Jurong Island, Singapore, in June. The facility cost $551 million, which the company said is the largest investment in its history.