CHARLOTTE, N.C. —Momentive Performance Materials Inc. has opened a 20,000-sq-ft. research and development laboratory in Charlotte to test and develop advanced compounds used in tire manufacturing.
The company is investing about $3.5 million in the new lab, which will serve as a global hub for development of silane materials that can help tire manufacturers produce tires with lower rolling resistance, better wet traction and advanced performance.
"This new tire research and development laboratory reinforces our commitment to developing cutting-edge specialty products for the global automotive industry," Momentive President and CEO Jack Boss said.
"The lab will enhance our ability to improve the advanced compounds tire manufacturers need to optimize production and develop new products."
Silane products are key ingredients tire manufacturers rely on to create innovative solutions to reduce automotive fuel consumption. Low rolling resistance tires help increase fuel economy while reducing carbon dioxide emissions because they minimize wasted energy used to overcome a conventional tire's rolling resistance.
Momentive said auto makers and consumers increasingly seek low rolling resistance tires to help reduce fuel consumption. Silane products are incorporated by tire manufacturers into their tires to help reduce rolling resistance while preserving wet traction.
"Our goal is to help our customers increase speed to market for both design and performance," Mike Stout, Momentive's global marketing director for tire and rubber, said in a news release.
"With our new lab, we can do just that. We can shorten development time for compounders because we're able to replicate the testing and analysis they conduct when incorporating our tire silanes, thus validating their results."
The new lab is part of Momentive's continued investment into the automotive industry, and particularly the tire and rubber segment. The company acquired the operating assets of Sea Lion Technology Inc. in January to increase the availability of tire silanes in the U.S.
Waterford, N.Y.-based Momentive also recently broke ground on a plant for NXT silane materials in Leverkusen, Germany, to further enhance tire silane availability, and to make locally produced materials available in Europe.
Momentive is a global leader in silicones and advanced materials. It is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MPM Holdings Inc.
Rubber & Plastics News is an Akron-based sister publication of Tire Business.