German specialty chemicals company Lanxess and Korean Hankook Tire signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on February 26 to co-develop synthetic rubber technologies for high-performance tires. Under the agreement, the two companies will jointly study the development of new high-performance synthetic rubber grades and applications that increase the performance of tires from early stages of product development.
Lanxess and Hankook Tire have maintained a close partnership since 2008, when Hankook Tire awarded Lanxess a long-term contract to supply solution styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) and neodymium performance butadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) - both core materials for high-performance tires. This newly established technical partnership is expected to further strengthen the ties between Lanxess and Hankook Tire.
The market for high-performance tires is showing a rapid rise due to increasing demand for premium tires and the introduction of tire labeling in South Korea, the European Union (EU) and Japan. In December 2012, South Korea became the second market in the world after the EU to implement a mandatory tire labeling system. Since then, high-performance synthetic rubbers for high-performance tires have stirred major interest among Korea's tire and automotive-related industries. Japan introduced a voluntary label in 2010, while Brazil will follow with a labeling system in 2016. China and the United States are similarly developing implementation plans.
Lanxess provides high-performance synthetic rubbers to globally leading tire makers. Last October, the company launched two new easy-processing Nd-PBR rubber grades - Buna Nd 22 EZ and Buna Nd 24 EZ - aimed at the fast-growing high-performance tires market, especially in Asia. Lanxess is also currently building the world's largest Nd-PBR manufacturing facility in Singapore and this is expected to come on stream in 2015.
The technical partnership with Lanxess represents part of Hankook Tire's continued R&D efforts. Coupled with the company's investment for a new Central R&D Center and a Test Engineering Center in Korea, this additional R&D effort, based on a far more interactive knowledge sharing with Lanxess, is expected to accelerate Hankook Tire's pursuit to further advance its technological prowess beyond competition.Weitere News im plasticker