ERJ staff report (TP)
Seoul, South Korea − LG Chem is set to enter the high-functional synthetic rubber market in earnest, reported the Korea IT Times.
The company said on October 27 that it would begin production of solution styrene-butadiene rubber (S-SBR) at its Daesan (South Chungcheong Province) plant from early November.
In November last year, it had completed the construction of the plant at the cost of 100 million won (€68,552) at a 33,000-square-meter site. With an annual S-SBR capacity of 60,000 tonness, LG Chem will be able to become a No. 2 producer behind Kumho Petrochemical for the material used mainly for tires and industrial applications.
Due to the recent rise in environmental awareness around the world, as well as labelling regulations of tires in Europe and elsewhere, S-SBR for use in fuel-efficient tires has surged quickly for the past few years.
As S-SBR is lighter with higher durability, it is considered a next-generation tire material. As the material can maintain the same elasticity at low temperature, it has excellent properties such as braking and handling on wet surface.
In order to keep its leading position, Kumho Petrochemical plans to expand its S-SBR capacity by early next year. The company's current S-SBR capacity is 84,000 tonnes and is competing against Lanxess of Germany and Sinopec of China.
According to the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers, the world's S-SBR market is estimated at 1.39m tonnes and is forecast to increase up to 1.84m tonnes by 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 10 percent.
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Full story from Korea IT Times