TOKYO—Zeon Corp. is raising production capacity for hydrogenated nitrile rubber at its manufacturing plant in Kawasaki, Japan.
Zeon, which manufactures the materials under the Zetpol brand told European Rubber Journal that its overall production capacity for the high-performance rubber is 9,500 metric tons per year.
"The Kawasaki Plant produces high-performance Zetpol, and the production volume is 500 tons a year," a company spokeswoman said.
Explaining the project, the spokeswoman said that at the manufacturing site, Zetpol is produced in two forms of rubber and latex.
"Rubber is made by drying latex, and this investment will increase the drying capacity to increase rubber production," she noted.
Without giving a precise figure, the company said drying capacity will be "about twice" the current level. The company also declined to give details on the size of the investment, but added that the expansion project will be completed in September.
Zeon manufactures the specialty rubber at three of its production plants in Takoaka and Kawasaki, Japan, and at its Zeon Chemicals L.P. subsidiary in the U.S. The Japanese materials supplier said recently that its HNBR products, marketed under the Zetpol brand, were finding increasing use in safety and underhood parts for vehicles.
The latest expansion, it noted, is intended to help meet this growing demand.
The rubber, with enhanced heat resistance, is being adopted as an alternative to fluorinated rubber (FKM) in high-temperature environments, according to Zeon. The Kwasaki plant manufactures high-performance Zetpol, which offers heat resistance at temperatures of greater than 10°C, higher than conventional Zetpol.
The plant also produces Zetpol HNBR latex, which is commonly used in coating glass cord and fabric.