HOUSTON (Nov. 3)—ExxonMobil Chemical Co. plans to double production capability at its Baytown, Texas, plant for its Exxpro specialty elastomers used in tire inner liners in a "multimillion-dollar" project targeted for completion by the fourth quarter of 2006.
Exxpro is a brominated isobutylene para-methylstyrene copolymer. The company said it has improved the material using both nanocomposites and dynamically vulcanized alloys, in part due to continued joint development work with Japan's Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.
Recent results have demonstrated the improved air retention properties of this plastic/rubber "film" inner liner. As a result, ExxonMobil said, liner down-gauging offers another significant source for reducing raw materials and weight. ExxonMobil and Yokohama have been working together exclusively on the material technology since May 2004.
ExxonMobil said that prototype Exxpro polymer liners made with nanocomposites have been processed successfully into lighter-weight commercial truck tires in a commercial tire plant.
The firm did not disclose the plant's capacity. The expansion will be based on new investments and recent operational improvements.