CLEVELAND (Oct. 12, 2011)—Lanxess A.G. said it will build a rubber additives and curing bladders plant in Brazil, as part of $40.1 million in investments that include two plastics expansions.
The company said its Rhein Chemie subsidiary will operate the factory in Porto Feliz, Brazil, that will produce Rhenogran rubber additives and Rhenoshape curing bladders.
Rhenogran predispersed rubber additives significantly can improve the quality and durability of a rubber product, the firm said, while Rhenoshape bladders are used by the tire industry to give tires their final shape and properties. The facility will have the annual capacity to produce 2,000 metric tons of rubber additives and 170,000 bladders per year.
The plant will open in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The German company also will build a factory to produce Durethan and Pocan engineering plastics used primarily by the automotive industry.
Lanxess said the expansions will promote green mobility in Brazil, and result in the addition of about 100 employees to its work force.
The firm also touted several other projects that are occurring in Brazil, some it previously announced:
— The world's first production of bio-based EPDM rubber, Keltan Eco. Using ethylene derived from sugarcane, supplied by Brazil's Braskem S.A., the Lanxess Triunfo factory will use 25 percent of its 40,000 tons of capacity to make the green material.
— The company is adding capacity at the former Petroflex plant for neodymium polybutadiene rubber in Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Pernambuco state. The expansion will double capacity to 40,000 tons once it is completed by the end of the year. The facility has been upgraded to use the same process and technology used at Lanxess' Nd-PBR plants in Germany and the U.S.
— The firm has started a feasibility study to convert its Triunfo SBR factory to the solution process and away from emulsion SBR. Lanxess said the switch of the 110,000 ton capacity facility would require a “medium-size, double-digit million” cost. The decision will be made in mid-2012.
The announcements came closely on the heels of the appointment of Boudewijn Van Lent as Rhein Chemie president and general manager, based in Chardon, Ohio.
Before joining Rhein Chemie, Van Lent led the Chemical Sector of Celerant Consulting, an operational strategy consulting company. He also was a vice president of Lanxess Corp.
Rhein Chemie discussed these projects at the 180th ACS Rubber Division meeting and expo in Cleveland.