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ZEON to double S-SBR capacity in Singapore

Zeon (Tokyo) says it will build a second solution styrene butadiene rubber (SSBR) line in Singapore by the beginning of next year, doubling capacity at the site to between 70,000-80,000 m.t./year. The company is spending ¥7 billion ($57.8 million) on the project, which will use Zeon's own technology. On completion, the Singapore complex will be larger than the company's plant at Tokuyama, Japan, where it has 55,000 m.t./year of SSBR capacity. Singapore and Tokuyama are the only two locations where Zeon makes SSBR. Zeon is anticipating demand for SSBR, used in fuel-efficient tires.

Zeon estimates that the global market of fuel efficient tires will grow 60% for the period of 2012-2017. By 2019 for example Bridgestone is producing 10 mils of this type of tires per year, which is twice as much than in 2013. Zeon expects that this is a growing trend, and the world demand SSBR will rise 7-8% due to environmental awareness around the world and new labelling regulations for tires in Japan and other countries. One kilogramm of SSBR is needed to produce one tyre. New generations of SSBR not only help to improve fuel economy, but also grip in both the wet and the dry, with improved high wear resistance.

In 2014 Sumitomo Chemical started SSBR production in Singapore as well with capacity of 40,000 m.t/year to add the local capacities of 10,000 m.t/y in Japan.

European manufacturers are rising S-SBR production. For example, Poland's Synthos has opened a new SSBR plant with a capacity of 90,000 m.t./y invested 135 mln euro. Synthos will produce S-SBR by Goodyear technology license. Synthos has leaded own researches to improve quality of resins, including their own scientific center opened in 2010.

German corporation LANXESS, the largest manufacturer of high efficient resins in the world, e.g. S-SBR and Nd-PBR known by trade mark Buna, in 2013-2014 fully reorginised their old capacities of E-SBR into new S-SBR of 110,000 m.t/y in Brasil, invested 80 mln. euro. LANXESS expects the growing demand of both types of resins for 10% per year until 2017, the period when consumers are changing their traditional tyres to ecological ‘green’ tyres.

In Russia there are S-SBR manufacturing presented by JSC Voronezhsyntezkauchuk (SIBUR Group) and JSC Nizhnekamskneftekhim (TAIF Group).

Zeon Corporation is a chemicals manufacturer that produces materials for daily life such as synthetic rubbers, specialty resins and electronic components. Established in 1950, Zeon Corp belongs to Furukawa Group, one of the top industrial groups in Japan (together with Fujitsu, Fanuc Robotics, Yokogama Rubber, Mizuho Bank).

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