Arlanxeo Upgrades Rubber Plants in Brazil, France
Arlanxeo, the Lanxess/Saudi Aramco rubber joint venture, has announced plans to invest a euro sum of “mid- to double-digit millions” to modernize its synthetic rubber production in Brazil and France during the next three years.
“We are systematically implementing advanced technologies for growing high-performance rubber grades in order to support the development of our customers in important regions over the long term,” explained CEO, Jorge Nogueira.
In Brazil, Arlanxeo will upgrade its facility in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul, to make the production of polybutadiene rubber (PBR) more flexible. The site currently produces emulsion styrene-butadiene rubber (E-SBR), which is mainly used in car and truck tires.
Once the upgrade is completed in the second half of 2020, Arlanxeo will also be able to produce the more advanced PBR types neodymium butadiene rubber (Nd-BR) and lithium butadiene rubber (LiBR) for both tire and non-tire applications. At the same time, the company will relocate part of its E-SBR production at Triunfo to its plant in Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro, where it also produces E-SBR. This should allow for better economics going forward, Arlanxeo said.
The company said demand in Brazil for high-performance rubbers for tires continues to grow, adding that the use of Nd-BR tires significantly improves tire performance, resulting in lower fuel consumption and better wet grip, among other benefits.
Meanwhile, the site in La Wantzenau, France, which Arlanxeo say is home to the world’s largest nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) facility, will be modernized to meet growing global demand. The company produces around 50 standard and specialty products at the site, which also houses its NBR R&D activities.
The focus at La Wantzenau is on growth in both traditional business areas and new applications, some of which have been developed with customers, as well as the use of NBR as a raw material for producing Arlanxeo’s Therban hydrogenated NBR specialty products.