TOKYO—Asahi Kasei is set to start up an expansion of its solution SBR production in Singapore in January 2019.
In its 2018 report published Nov. 2, the Japanese materials supplier said in strengthening its high value-added businesses, emphasis was placed on the automotive field, including SSBR and engineering plastics to replace metal for weight reduction.
"Tire labeling requirements in various countries are bolstering demand for SSBR, which enhances tire performance through our unique polymer design technology," the company said.
In July last year, Asahi Kasei announced plans to increase SSBR capacity at its plant in Jurong Island, Singapore, by 30 percent to 130,000 metric tons per year.
At the time, the company said SSBR was a key strategic business in its "Tomorrow 2018'" medium-term management initiative. The goal was to make the company the world's No. 1 SSBR supplier by 2020.
Demand for tires with enhanced fuel efficiency has been growing while tire production in emerging countries is increasing in line with mobility growth, the company said.
Asahi Kasei has SSBR plants in Japan—Kanagawa and Oita prefectures—and Singapore.
The Singapore plant began operation in 2013 and produces the company's latest high-performance grades.
In March, the Japanese company said it was considering Europe as a "very strong candidate" for the location of its next solution styrene-butadiene rubber plant.