DUESSELDORF, Germany—Arlanxeo, a rubber joint venture between Lanxess and Saudi Aramco, has completed a technological upgrade at its Keltan EPDM plant in Orange, Texas, the company reported Nov. 9.
The update, said Arlanxeo, is expected to lead to “significant product improvements” and an extension of the Keltan product range.
The company has invested a total of $34 million in the facility over the last three years, improving the plant's hardware as well as installing an “improved catalyst activation technology.”
“The Orange plant is of key importance for Arlanxeo in the U.S.., and is a key element of our global network of production operations in four countries across North and South America, Europe, and China,” said Jim Francis, manager Keltan manufacturing at Arlanxeo.
This improved catalyst activation technology, according to the Maastricht-based JV, is based on the polymerization processes used in other Keltan EPDM plants.
However, noted Arlanxeo, the core “Ziegler Natta system” used in Orange remains intact.
In total Arlanxeo is now producing 14 Keltan grades in Orange, in a broad range of Mooney viscosities, ethylene contents and ethylidene norbornene levels. The grades can be used for applications in the automotive and industrial sector that include, inner tubes, hoses, cables, conveyor belts, mounts and seals.
One of the products of the plant is Keltan 7470Q DE, a new “highly crystalline grade with medium ENB content, medium-high Mooney viscosity and a narrow molecular weight distribution, for numerous automotive applications,” explained Pete Spanos, senior technical manager at Arlanxeo.
This, he said, is a “robust polymer with good processing characteristics.”
“The narrow molecular weight distribution ensures a good balance between tensile and tear properties,” he added.