ATLANTA (Jan. 21, 2014) — Lehigh Technologies Inc. has invested "significantly" in new mixing and analytical equipment for its Application & Development Center (ADC) and hired synthetic rubber industry veteran Chad Jasiunas to be technical manager for functional materials.
The expansion strengthens its state-of-the-art research and development capabilities and enables Lehigh to "drive further adoption of its sustainable micronized rubber powder (MRP) material in green tire applications," the Tucker, Ga.-based company said.
"The global green tire market is expected to grow significantly over the next five years," said Lehigh CEO Alan Barton. "Lehigh has positioned itself to support this growth by establishing best-in-class research and development facilities and a strong technical team.
"These latest expansions are an important part of that strategy and will reinforce peer-level technical relationships with major tire companies."
The company said Mr. Jasiunas joins Lehigh's ADC team with more than a decade of international experience in the development of solution-SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) systems. Prior to joining Lehigh, he worked at some of the world's largest tire and rubber companies, including Goodyear and Synthos S.A., Europe's largest manufacturer of emulsion rubber polymers, according to Lehigh.
"Chad brings with him years of top-tier experience as a solution-SBR research engineer," said Adel Halasa, a Lehigh advisory board member. "His background in both solution and functional SBR technologies will help Lehigh to continue delivering MRP-based functional systems for green tire applications that provide optimum performance and sustainability."
Alongside the expansion of the technology team, Lehigh said it has made "significant investments in advanced silica-silane mixing and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) capabilities. The new internal mixing unit was custom-built to Lehigh specifications and includes precision speed and temperature control as well as capability for mixing high viscosity silica-silane-SBR compounds."
The company said its new state-of-the-art DMA unit's capabilities "include measurement of predictive parameters critical to green tire performance such as rolling resistance, traction and handling under a wide range of conditions."
Tom Rosenmayer, Lehigh's vice president of technology, said having advanced mixing and DMA testing capabilities "is critical to the development of functional materials based on MRP."
MRPs lower costs, increase the sustainability profile of end products and deliver performance without sacrificing the reliability and performance offered by traditional raw materials, Lehigh said.