CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 10, 2010)—Tire materials supplier Momentive Performance Materials USA Inc. has set up a tire research and development laboratory at the former headquarters in Charlotte of Continental Tire North America Inc.
Albany, N.Y.-based Momentive, which is active in silicones and related advanced materials, purchased certain R&D-related assets, subleased 22,000 square feet of laboratory space from CTNA and hired five ex-Conti R&D personnel in setting up the lab.
“When Continental decided to consolidate an R&D laboratory facility elsewhere, we seized the opportunity to significantly add to our tire and rubber research capability,” said Mike Stout, global marketing manager for tire and rubber for Momentive, formerly General Electric Advanced Materials business.
CTNA moved out of the Charlotte facility last year and moved to new quarters in nearby Indian Land, S.C. It sold the 40-year-old facility to a developer and leased back about 600,000 square feet of the one-time tire factory for rubber mixing and warehousing activities.
The facility enhances Momentive's ability to provide faster innovation for customers in the tire and rubber industry while helping the company reduce new product development cycle times. Specifically, the laboratory expands Momentive's capability for analyzing the efficacy of silanes in tire and rubber compounds.
Among Momentive's products for the tire industry are its Silquest and NXT silanes, which are used to facilitate rubber compounding with silica, which tire companies use to reduce tire rolling resistance without compromising traction properties.
“The Charlotte facility, with its highly trained technical staff and cutting-edge capabilities, will enable us to deliver new value to the industry by better understanding the factors that affect silanes in tire composition,” said Eric Thaler, Momentive's chief technology officer.
John Nicholson, Momentive's global technology manager for silanes, said the company “can now more directly engage our customers with application data and analysis, while shortening their evaluation cycle of new Momentive products.”