Materials Science

Arlanxeo invests in synthetic rubber capacity

Arlanxeo will invest a figure in the “mid-double-digit” million euro range to modernize its synthetic rubber production sites at Triunfo, Brazil, and La Wantzenau, France, over the next three years. Arlanxeo is a joint venture of Lanxess and Saudi Aramco.

The company is investing to make the production of polybutadiene rubber (PBR) at Triunfo more flexible. Currently the site produces emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (E-SBR) that is mainly used in car and truck tires. The company will also be able to produce the more advanced neodymium-based polybutadiene rubber and lithium butadiene rubber for tire and non-tire applications at Triunfo from the second half of 2020. 

Arlanxeo is also relocating part of its existing E-SBR production from Triunfo to the company’s facility at Duque de Caxias, Brazil, where E-SBR is already produced. This should allow for better economics going forward, the company says.

Demand in Brazil for high-performance rubbers for tires continues to grow, supported by tire-labeling regulations similar to laws already in place in the European Union, Japan, and South Korea. 

Arlanxeo, meanwhile, says it is modernizing the site at La Wantzenau, “the world’s largest nitrile butadiene rubber [NBR] facility.” The company’s R&D activities for NBR are located at La Wantzenau, where it produces about 50 standard and specialty products.

The focus at this site is on growth in traditional business areas and new applications, some of which have been developed with customers, and on the use of NBR as a raw material to make the company’s hydrogenated NBR specialty products.