HOUSTON—Kuraray Co. Ltd. is working on new technologies within its existing product groups to address a number of key trends in the adhesives industry.
David Steinberg, director of sales and marketing for Kuraray America Inc.—Kuraray's U.S. subsidiary—said a key trend in the industry is customer demands for adhesives that address vibration and sound damping and reduce noise harshness for applications in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, and building and construction industries.
“The big opportunity has been in the sealants area, with vibration damping materials,” Steinberg said. “Kuraray is really a high-performance niche supplier for the industry.”
Kuraray offers a line of products under its Hybrar brand, which consists of five lines and is used mainly for noise, vibration or sound reduction.
The firm is working on new technology with different raw materials.
Hybrar's 5,000 series is geared toward the adhesives market, which are non-hydrogenated products designed to give better vibration damping at normal-use temperatures.
Automotive is the biggest industry of focus for this demand, Steinberg said. Hybrar is produced at Kuraray's Elastomer Division site in Japan.
The division employs more than 250 and operates a manufacturing facility in Houston. Kuraray employs more than 8,000 worldwide.
The firm's main product line consists of styrenic block copolymers—such as SEBS and related chemistries.
Its main line under the Septon series is produced at both facilities and consists of about 30 lines, with about half geared toward the adhesives industry. Hybrar is a derivative of the Septon line.
“These two products are pretty well tied together from a technology and manufacturing standpoint,” Steinberg said.
In electronics, the firm provides a family liquid isoprene rubbers used in cell phone and computer screens or any product that utilizes an optically clear adhesive.
“Anything that's a multi-layered structure of that nature, we're working on new technology that adhesives manufacturers can use to make those products better,” Steinberg said.