PITTSBURGH (Jan. 8, 2016) — PPG Industries Inc. is adding 10,000 tons of annual capacity for precipitated silica, a key component in rubber compounds used in reduced rolling resistance “green” tires, at a plant in Lake Charles, La., by debottlenecking processes at the facility.
PPG said the debottlenecking projects at Lake Charles build on a 22,000 tons-per-year capacity increase that came online in mid-2014 and are being undertaken in part to meet growing demand among global tire manufacturers for its Agilon performance silica.
The Pittsburgh-based company did not disclose the Lake Charles plant's overall capacity nor its investment in the expansions.
PPG also is expanding capacity at its Delfzijl, Netherlands, plant, and is evaluating additional significant silica expansion projects in Europe and North America based on growing demand, according to Anup Jain, PPG vice president, specialty coatings and materials.
The “multimillion-dollar” Delfzijl expansion — adding more than 15,000 metric tons of annual capacity — is on schedule to come online in mid-2016.
“PPG remains committed to the precipitated silica market, and this investment will enable us to meet growing demand for our products among key strategic customers and target segments in the Americas,” Mr. Jain said.
PPG said it pioneered synthetic precipitated silica products as far back as the 1930s and has become a leading global player in the material, used as reinforcing fillers in tire, industrial, footwear and silicone rubber applications; as microporous fillers in battery separator applications; as flatting and thickening agents in coating, adhesive and sealant applications; and as anti-caking, free-flow and carrier agents in food, feed and industrial applications.