As in previous years, LANXESS will continue to strengthen its market position in Asia and above all in China. "We want to benefit from the huge opportunities offered by the Asian market. This is one of LANXESS' key strategic goals," said Dr. Werner Breuers, member of the Board of Management of LANXESS, speaking to international journalists at a press conference in Düsseldorf ahead of the K 2010 plastics fair. One of the main areas of investment for LANXESS in Asia is the Performance Polymers segment, which combines the rubber business with that of thermoplastics. In 2009, this segment alone accounted for nearly half the Group's sales.
In Singapore, for example, work recently began on building a plant for the production of butyl rubber, which is due to go on stream in 2013. A total of EUR 400 million has been set aside for this project. In Nantong near Shanghai, LANXESS, together with TSRC Corporation, is building a facility for NBR rubber at a cost of around EUR 36 million. It is scheduled to begin production in 2012. At its production site of Jhagadia in India, LANXESS is currently involved with the construction of a compounding plant for the two engineering plastics Durethan (polyamide) and Pocan (polybutylene terephthalate), which is due to commence operation at the beginning of 2012. The cost of this investment is more than EUR 10 million.
At K 2010, LANXESS’ Semi-Crystalline Products, Butyl Rubber, Performance Butadiene Rubbers, Technical Rubber Products and Rubber Chemicals business units will showcase their latest innovations in materials, processes and technologies. The new developments are an expression of the creative and effective culture of innovation that has become established at LANXESS in recent years. "Thanks to this culture of innovation, we have been highly successful with our research and development. And it has played a crucial role in transforming LANXESS into an innovation-driven global player with excellent prospects for the future," said Breuers.
Innovations with rubber and additives
One highly promising product in several respects is "Butyl 100", a low-viscosity butyl rubber that is suitable above all for the production of adhesives and sealants. LANXESS has also opened up new possibilities with its low-viscosity HNBR elastomer Therban AT 3400 VP. This high-performance special-purpose rubber flows 1,000 to 10,000 times more easily than previous Therban grades. This makes it ideal for liquid injection molding and various other processes. In close cooperation with a machine manufacturer, LANXESS is currently examining the technical potential of this material. The firm Kraiburg TPE has recently launched an EVM-containing thermoplastic elastomer called Hipex. This features a level of heat resistance unrivaled by other thermoplastic elastomers. It can, for example, withstand short-term temperature loads of up to 170 °C. The material owes some of its highly promising properties to the EVM elastomer Levapren. Another innovative product from LANXESS is the proven flame-retardant building material Bayfomox, which can now be applied as a spray foam. The LANXESS stand at K 2010 will also highlight a number of alternatives to phthalate-based additives.
Innovations with thermoplastics
The high-tech plastics Durethan and Pocan stand for innovative lightweight construction solutions – as is vividly demonstrated in some of their latest applications. One example is a car front end manufactured by a plastic-metal hybrid technology using – for the first time – not just aluminum but also lightweight organic sheet. New LANXESS polyamides with a high glass fiber content such as Durethan BKV 60 EF H2.0 are developing into a useful alternative to thermosetting plastics and metals because of their excellent stiffness. An example of a recent application in which this polyamide 6 has been used as a substitute for sheet steel is the spare wheel recess with integrated reinforcing channels for a top-of-the-range sedan. Also new are two variants of Durethan that have been developed for physical and chemical foaming. They produce surfaces of high optical quality and, compared with solid injection molded parts, offer potential weight savings of up to 20 percent. Another highlight at K 2010 will be grades of Pocan and Durethan in which the flame retardance packages are free of both halogens and red phosphorus.
LANXESS (lanxess.com) is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 5.06 billion in 2009 and currently around 14,300 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 42 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.