MAASTRICHT, Netherlands—Hans Joris has had plenty of exposure to both the tire and non-tire parts of Arlanxeo Holding B.V.'s global synthetic rubber business in his more than 13-year tenure with the firm.
He joined the then-named Lanxess in 2006 with a business engineering degree and spent much of his time on rubber chemicals. Following that was a stint in Switzerland, where he had global controlling responsibilities for the performance butadiene market.
Then he went to Asia to help launch a new NBR production site in Singapore, and served as strategic marketing manager for Asia-Pacific. After Arlanxeo was formed as a joint venture between Lanxess and Saudi Aramco, he spent nearly three years as the global marketing director of the non-tire side of the JV, before taking the same title for tires as part of Maastricht-based Arlanxeo's Tire & Specialty Rubber business unit.
"There is a large overlapping when it comes to the products that are serving those different industries," Joris said. "From a product perspective, most grades that go into tires also find their way into a variety of other industries."
The big differences are the value chains working in the different industries, along with some of the regulations governing such niche markets as food applications and pharmaceutical packaging.
Customer requirements also are quite different in non-tire compared to tire sectors.
In the synthetic rubber industry, Joris said it's important for Arlanxeo to go after both tire and non-tire business so the supplier maintains a diversified portfolio.
"Tires, of course, are the big driver because it's the big majority, so when it comes to innovations, it remains the biggest driver," he said. "On the other hand, the non-tire markets are still a very large portion of the business as well. It's a very important element of how we position ourselves in the industry."
Challenges in tires
When he returned to the tire side of Arlanxeo last spring, the economic environment was pretty tough, given uncertainties with global trade and the rise of protectionism over the past several years. But Joris said he believes Arlanxeo is in a good position to deal with such variables, given its position as a global player.