Lanxess Celebrates 50 Years Butyl Production in Belgium
Lanxess AG, Cologne, Germany, celebrates 50 years butyl production in Zwijndrecht, Belgium. Half a century after the production start in 1963 the yearly capacity is multiplied by five up to 150,000 metric tons. The Lanxess Group invested more than EUR 250 million in Zwijjndrecht, for capacity growth but also in a new energy plant and in two pilot plants.
With 163 employees and 3 reactors the plant had a startup capacity of 30,000 metric tons. In the night of November 21st, 1963 the very first butyl rubber was produced. Meanwhile the counter moved forward to the incredible production figure of more than 4 billion kilograms of butyl rubber on the anniversary date. Whilst the rubber is pressed into bales or blocks of 34 kilo, that makes a total of 120 million pieces.
Butyl rubber is mainly used for the tire production. Modern radial tires require an inner liner made of halobutyl rubber, which helps keep tire pressure constant for longer because of its impermeability to gases, thus saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions. Other applications for butyl rubber are protective clothing, shoe soles, adhesives and chewing gum. Its impermeability to gas and resistance to chemicals have also proven valuable in vehicle air conditioning systems and tank linings.
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