WILTON, Conn.—GE Industrial Advanced Materials, Silicones has launched NXT Z silane as an addition to its family of NXT silane coupling agents.
The material, which the company called a breakthrough, mixes silica with rubber for tire treads without generating ethanol during the compounding and manufacturing steps.
GE said the new silane helps tire makers reduce production costs by eliminating ethanol emissions and by using a single-step mixing process with temperatures as high as 170°C, while not causing viscosity increases or premature vulcanization.
NXT Z silane also helps tire manufacturers enhance the wear, traction and rolling-resistance properties of tires, which leads to better gas mileage, said Mike Stout, GE global marketing manager. In addition, GE lab tests show that the potency level of NXT Z is higher than other silanes, which indicates less of the product is needed, he said.
The features offered by NXT Z allow for lower overall cost in building tires, Stout said.
"NXT Z silane provides the capabilities the tire industry needs to meet a wide range of product performance objectives in ways that help control production costs and meet environmental objectives," Stout said.
The new silane will be produced at GE´s plant in Sistersville, W.Va., and marketed globally, Stout said.
Other GE silane coupling agents, NXT, NXT LowV and NXT Ultra-LowV silanes-which also eliminate non-productive mix steps-help improve throughput during manufacturing, the firm said. They also help enhance tire properties like rolling resistance and wet traction.
In addition, the GE NXT silane family has a longer shelf life than other silane brands, he said.
"Traditional silane can sit for a few days," Stout said. "NXT silanes can sit around for weeks or for months."
Stout said GE began research on silanes in 1996 and since then has worked to develop products better suited for the industry.
NXT Z´s development came as part of that effort, as well as from industry feedback, he said.
Customers wanted silanes at a lower cost, as well as higher performance tires with lower ethanol emissions, he said. Most original silanes were designed for other industries, but NXT Z was developed specifically for the tire industry.
All NXT silane has been certified for official status as part of the GE "ecomagination" program, the company´s strategic initiative to improve environmental issues.
The program strives to help tire companies reduce equipment, labor and energy costs for manufacturing while moving in a positive environmental direction.
A technical paper describing the capabilities and properties of NXT Z silane will be presented at the International Tire Exhibition and Conference Sept. 12-14, in Akron.