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May 13, 2013

Lanxess opens first production facility for high-performance bladders in Brazil

Gerald Ondrey

Lanxess AG (Leverkusen, Germany: is focusing on the megatrend of mobility also in Brazil. In Porto Feliz, the specialty chemicals company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Rhein Chemie has opened a new facility for high-performance bladders (curing bladders), which are used in the production of tires. It has an annual capacity of about 170,000 bladders. In 2014, a new facility to manufacture pre-dispersed polymer-bound rubber additives (Rhenogran), with a capacity of 1,800 metric tons per year, will be added. Altogether, Lanxess is investing some €10 million and creating around 60 new jobs.

„With this investment in Brazil, the world’s sixth largest economy, we reaffirm our focus on the emerging markets. We want to share in the positive development of the automotive and tire industries in Latin America”, says Rainier van Roessel, Board Member of Lanxess. 

More and more tire manufacturers are outsourcing bladder production in order to concentrate on their core business. The bladders made of butyl rubber, which Lanxess markets under the Rhenoshape brand, are inflated under high pressure and at high temperatures to give the tire its final shape. They have a much longer service life and thus can produce up to three times more tires. In addition to better productivity, the greatly improved thermal conductivity of the bladder compound and other factors boost the quality of the tire. This increases safety, reduces rolling resistance and thus fuel consumption.

Rhein Chemie entered the bladder market about two and a half years ago with the acquisition of the Argentinian company Darmex. With the purchase of U.S. company Tire Curing Bladders in 2012, Rhein Chemie is now the largest independent bladder manufacturer in the world.

Porto Feliz is a large site for Lanxess with 260 employees. Rhein Chemie has been producing rubber additives for ten years there. The business unit Inorganic Pigment also houses a production unit at the site and a new plant for high-tech engineering plastics is currently under construction and will be started up in the second half of 2013.




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