Lanxess opens new rubber plant in Singapore

Lanxess-Singapore image

Specialty chemicals company Lanxess recently opened its new neodymium butadiene rubber (Nd-BR) plant in Jurong Island, Singapore, which as an annual production capacity of 140,000 tonnes and created 100 jobs for local residents. The plant is also the first Nd-BR site in Asia. The new plant is next to the company’s existing butyl rubber plant, also in Singapore. The close proximity of the two synthetic rubber production sites on Jurong Island has enabled shared infrastructure and logistics, resulting in lean operations.

Production will be ramped up gradually. The facility will produce Nd-BR for global markets, with an emphasis on the growing Asian markets. The Asia-Pacific region accounts for about a quarter of Lanxess’s sales and is home to key growth markets tied to megatrends involving mobility and urbanization.

Nd-BR is a type of rubber that reduces tyre abrasion. and is used to make safe and economical tyres. It serves a vital function in tyre walls and treads, increasing fuel efficiency and enabling ‘green’ tyres. The use of Nd-BR makes it possible to produce tyres that offer low rolling resistance and a high level of durability and safety.

A practical tyre test carried out by Lanxess together with a global chemical logistics provider demonstrated that "green" tyres can reduce the fuel consumption of trucks by 8.5%. Another test conducted jointly with RheinEnergie, a German energy provider, has shown that "green" tyres can reduce the fuel consumption of passenger vehicles by as much as 7% in urban traffic.

Nd-BR is also used to make golf balls, running shoes, and conveyor belts.

"Together with our adjacent butyl rubber plant, the opening of this new butadiene rubber plant reinforces the strategic role of Singapore as our hub for synthetic rubber production for the Asian markets," said Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the Board of Management of Lanxess AG, at the opening ceremony.

Damian Chan, Executive Director, Energy and Chemicals of the Singapore Economic Development Board attended the opening ceremonies and is pleased with the confidence the global company has in Singapore’s economy. The new plant represents a EUR200mn investment in the country.

"This new investment by Lanxess, which comes shortly after its butyl rubber plant in 2013, reiterates the confidence Lanxess has in Singapore as a strategic base to chart their growth in the region," Chan said.

"The synthetic rubber project is part of Singapore's strategy to grow chemical chains from the higher olefins produced by our petrochemical crackers. This will enhance the value and resilience of our chemicals industry."

The new plant in Singapore is Lanxess’s first Nd-BR site in Asia, and joins the nine additional production facilities operated by the company’s Tire & Specialty Rubber (TSR) business unit in North and South America and Europe. In addition to Nd-BR, the business unit produces other varieties of butadiene rubber, including solution styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) and several types of butyl rubber.


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