PORTO FELIZ, Brazil—German synthetic polymers producer Lanxess A.G. has opened a $13.5 million plant in Porto Feliz for butyl curing bladders used in tire manufacturing.
The plant, operated by Lanxess' Rhein Chemie subsidiary, opens with an annual capacity for about 170,000 bladders, which are used to inflate the uncured, or green, tires inside the mold.
Rhein Chemie, which claims to be world's largest independent producer of curing bladders, said its Rhenoshape-brand curing bladders last up to three times longer than competitors' products and offer improved thermal conductivity, both qualities that can boost the quality of tires.
The business also is adding a facility in Porto Feliz for Rhenogran-brand pre-dispersed polymer-bound rubber processing additives, with a capacity of 1,800 metric tons per year, starting in 2014.
Lanxess claims the market for bladders is growing as more and more tire manufacturers outsource their production in order to concentrate on their core business.
Rhein Chemie entered the bladder market in 2011 with the acquisition of the Argentinian company Darmex. In 2012, it purchased Tire Curing Bladders L.L.C. of Little Rock, Ark.
Lanxess has been situated in Porto Feliz for the past 10 years, producing rubber additives and inorganic pigments. A plant for high-tech engineering plastics is under construction.