Tokyo – Zeon Corp. is raising production capacity for hydrogenated nitrile rubber (HNBR) at its manufacturing plant in Kawasaki, Japan, the company has informed ERJ.
Zeon, which manufactures the materials under the Zetpol brand, told ERJ that its overall production capacity for the high-performance rubber is 9,500 tonnes per annum.
“The Kawasaki Plant produces high-performance Zetpol, and the production volume is 500 tonnes a year,” said a company spokeswoman.
Explaining the project, the spokeswoman said that at the manufacturing site, Zetpol is produced in two forms of rubber and latex.
“Rubber is made by drying latex, and this investment will increase the drying capacity to increase rubber production,” she noted.
Without giving a precise figure, the company said drying capacity will be “about twice” the current level.
The company declined to give details on the size of the investment, but added that the expansion project will be completed in September.
Zeon manufactures the speciality rubber at three of its production plants in Takoaka and Kawasaki in Japan and at its Zeon Chemicals LP subsidiary in the US.
The Japanese materials supplier said recently that its HNBR products, marketed under the brand Zetpol, were finding increasingly use in safety and underhood parts for vehicles.
The latest expansion, it noted, is aimed to meet this growing demand.
The rubber, with enhanced heat resistance, is being adopted as an alternative to fluorinated rubber (FKM) in high-temperature environments, according to Zeon.
The Kwasaki plant, added Zeon, manufactures high-performance Zetpol, which offers heat resistance > 10°C higher than conventional Zetpol.
The plant also produces Zetpol HNBR Latex, which is commonly used in coating glass cord and fabric.