LEVERKUSEN, Germany—Lanxess A.G. has decided to convert its emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber plant in Triunfo, Brazil, to solution SBR, switching from an SR used in standard tires to that utilized in high-performance "green" tires.
The company said the production capacity of 110,000 metric tons at the site in southern Brazil won't change. Lanxess expects to spend about $104 million to convert the facility, and hire up to 500 temporary workers for the project.
The operation should begin producing S-SBR grades by the end of 2014, Lanxess said. E-SBR customers will be supplied by the firm's Duque de Cazis plant, near Rio de Janeiro, which has sufficient capacity to meet demand in Brazil.
E-SBR primarily is used in truck tire manufacturing and retreading, the firm said.
The growth of the middle class throughout the world, especially in Asia and Latin America, has increased demand for "green" tires, Lanxess said. Additionally, the adoption of tire labeling standards in the European Union, Japan, South Korea and soon Brazil also is prompting the change.