Machelen, Belgium – Sumitomo Chemical Europe is introducing new speciality grades of solution styrene-butadiene rubber (SSBR) for winter and summer tires in Europe, the company has announced.
In a news release, the Japanese company said that the new winter grade adds “a new dimension” to the current winter tires. This includes the capability to be used for silica compound-based tires, hence providing a higher fuel efficiency.
The new generation SSBR grades, said Sumitomo Chemical, were developed last autumn and are currently under evaluation by customers.
Also, Sumitomo Chemical said that it had developed another SSBR grade for winter tires which improved resistance to lower temperatures while offering fuel efficiency features.
“The material will widen the application window and provide benefits under extreme cold conditions,” the company statement added.
According to Sumitomo Chemical the first evaluation results by major European tire manufacturers have been “quite promising”.
Speaking to ERJ, a SCE spokesman said that the company is now planning to move up the production to a commercial level during this first half of 2016.
The rubber, he said, will be produced at Sumitomo Chemical’s plants in Chiba, Japan and Singapore.
The company aims to position the materials as “the best balanced performance for winter tire applications”, he said.
Also, Sumitomo Chemical has introduced a functionalised SSBR for summer tires that, it claims, can significantly improve the rolling resistance of tires and offer high levels of fuel efficiency.
Sumitomo Chemical started the supply of the material to the European tire industry in April.