Tires dramatically affect handling and they play a major role in how our cars and trucks look but tire construction and tire compounds can also affect mileage when the finished tire weighs less plus they can even be “green” by using less raw material in the manufacturing process. ExxonMobil Chemical has taken a step forward in bringing these benefits to market with the announcement of a new manufacturing plant.
ExxonMobil Chemical Company today announced it will begin construction of a facility to manufacture new specialty elastomer compounds that can improve the durability of tires, make them lighter weight by using less raw material and significantly reduce fuel consumption. Start-up of the plant is expected in early 2008 to satisfy demand for the products that combine the flexibility and elasticity of rubber with the low air permeability of plastic.
The plant will manufacture a dynamically vulcanized alloy (DVA) of proprietary Exxpro™ specialty elastomers and nylon. This new Exxpro-based alloy can be blown into films and used as the air barrier inner liner of tires. ExxonMobil Chemical expects to commercialize the technology in late 2007. Exxpro marks the first major technology advancement to tire inner liner raw materials since ExxonMobil started producing halobutyl products in 1961.
“The Exxpro-based alloy provides improved air barrier retention versus current commercial alternatives,” said Art Sullivan, Butyl Polymers Global Business vice president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “Maintaining proper tire inflation reduces stress and irregular wear, saving millions of gallons of gasoline every day.”
Tire inner liners with the Exxpro-based alloy are up to one-fifth the gauge of a conventional halobutyl inner liner, leading to lighter weight tires with improved rolling resistance. The new inner liner material has shown a 20 percent improvement in tire durability, and it also performs well in cold temperatures.
“These new inner liners allow up to 80 percent reduction in hydrocarbon based raw materials versus current inner liner technology,” Sullivan said. “This is a good example of how innovative polymer technologies can promote a sustainable future by reducing both motor fuel consumption and raw material usage.”
The initial market development facility for manufacturing will be located in Pensacola, Florida. The investment will fully leverage the company’s existing proprietary extrusion technology at this location. The facility will supply customers globally.
Link: ExxonMobil Chemical