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Specialty chemicals company LANXESS demonstrated its expertise in product innovation for synthetic rubber by unveiling the LANXESS AA concept tire.
The concept tire is among the first to be presented that would earn a double-A rating under the new labeling regulations that go into effect in November in the European Union. The announcement further strengthens LANXESS’ position as the specialty chemical industry’s leading enabler of “Green Mobility.” This global trend towards sustainable transportation solutions includes the adoption of high-performance tires and is resulting in lower CO2 emissions and improvements in fuel efficiency.
“We believed that creating our own concept tire was essential to developing a thorough command of our high-tech solutions and their significance to the finished product,” said Dr. Joachim Grub, Head of the Performance Butadiene Rubbers business unit at LANXESS. “We are now moving from the age of tire design to the age of tire materials, which will make the difference in performance.”
As a unique service and value proposition, the LANXESS AA concept tire enables the company to offer materials that have already been subject to rigorous testing – allowing customers to bring new tires to market faster and strengthen their competitive position.
More specifically, with this concept tire, LANXESS intends to demonstrate the importance of its neodymium-based performance butadiene rubber (Nd-PBR) to increase durability, especially in AA-rated tires. Although durability will not be rated on the new EU tire labels, it will be a key differentiation criteria among top-ranked tires.
Traditionally, tire makers have operated within the “magic triangle” of tire design, which means that an improvement in durability has always come at the expense of either rolling resistance or wet grip.
LANXESS is the market leader for Nd-PBR used in “Green Tires” - the fastest growing sector in the tire industry, with an annual global growth rate of about 10 percent.
Demand is being driven by the megatrend mobility, above all in the regions of Asia and Latin America, as the middle class there becomes more affluent. In addition, demand will be accelerated by tire labeling being introduced around the world.
November 2012 will see the launch of mandatory tire labeling in the European Union (EU). Tires will be graded from A to G according to their fuel efficiency and wet grip. Rolling noise is also measured. Therefore, the new legislation provides more transparency for consumers by highlighting the added value of “Green Tires”. According to TU Munich, the market share of class A and B tires in the EU is expected to reach 20-30 percent in 2017 and then jump to 70-80 percent in 2022.
Japan and South Korea were the first countries in the world to introduce a label system. After a voluntary tire label was introduced in Japan in January 2010, South Korea launched its voluntary labeling in November 2011 and will introduce a mandatory label in December 2012. Other countries like Brazil, the USA and China are expected to follow in the coming years.
“Green Tires” can reach their peak performance with formulations containing both Nd-PBR and solution styrene butadiene rubber (SSBR). LANXESS also produces SSBR, which is mainly used in the tread compound of “Green Tires”, where it helps to reduce rolling resistance and improve grip on wet roads.
“A” rated tires provide the most wet grip. An “A” rated tire needs 18 to 21 meters less to come to a standstill from a speed of 80 km/h compared to an “F”-rated tire.
Studies show that 20-30 percent of a vehicle’s fuel consumption and 24 percent of road vehicle’s CO2 emissions are related to tires. “Green Tires” can reduce fuel consumption by 5-7 percent and have a shorter cost amortization period in comparison to other fuel-saving technologies in cars.
Specialty chemicals company LANXESS has launched a new fuel savings calculator that helps drivers to be kind on both their wallets and the environment. It is a particularly valuable accessory in these times of record fuel prices.
First, how much money can I save by using fuel-efficient or “green tires” ? Second, how long does it take before the tires have paid for themselves? And third, what is the reduction in the car’s CO2 emissions? The software was developed in cooperation with the Technical University of Munich, and was then tested and certified by TÜV Rheinland.
The free LANXESS app for smartphones, tablets and web-enabled PCs is available from both the Apple Appstore, and at http://app.green-mobility.com