MEXICO CITY—Synthetic rubber producer Industrias Negromex S.A. de C.V. (INSA) plans to start marketing a silica-loaded masterbatch rubber product it developed in partnership with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. over the past few years. INSA, a subsidiary of Grupo KUO, plans to launch the product in early 2014 under the brand name “Emulsil” and will expand capacity for the product at its plant in Altamira, Mexico, to support the launch. The company did not disclose details of the scale of the expansion or the investment. INSA General Director Felipe Varela Hernandez said INSA is “confident our customers will be pleased with the quality and value of this new technology for achieving the benefits of silica in rubber compounds.” Cooper and INSA disclosed their cooperation on this technology earlier this year. The companies have patented the technology. INSA's announcement coincides with word from Cooper that it has used the masterbatch successfully in manufacturing more than 2 million premium car tires. In so doing, Cooper said it derived a number of benefits from the co-developed technology, including improved mixing productivity and flexibility, the elimination of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions associated with the standard silanization process of mixing silica, and improved silica dispersion in tire tread formulations. The latter leads to better traction, wear and rolling resistance performance, according to Cooper. “Day-to-day use of this technology has had a major impact on our company's manufacturing productivity and competitiveness,” said Chuck Yurkovich, Cooper's vice president, global research and development. “With the tire industry's move to improve performance through the use of silica, finding superior methodologies, as we have with INSA, to incorporate silica is advantageous to the entire industry.” Cooper and INSA will present a review of their work in developing the technology at the American Chemical Society's 2013 International Elastomer Conference, Oct. 7-10, at the I-X Center in Cleveland. INSA is the sole producer of emulsion synthetic rubber in Mexico. Grupo KUO is a diversified holding with businesses in the polymer, automotive components, agriculture and food industries.
Cooper partner INSA to sell masterbatch
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