Nynas has been on the front line of producing, marketing and shipping non-labelled products around the world since the early 1990s. When the European Union (EU) announced its intention to ban aromatic extracts in tyres an obvious effect that could be anticipated was that demand within this segment would sky rocket. Nynas immediately started to prepare accordingly.
Thorsten Lutze, Market Manager for the Chemical Industry, and Marika Rangstedt, Technical Market Support Manager, both have key positions in Nynas Naphthenic's efforts to support the global tyre and polymer market as the transition to non-aromatic tyres approaches and the company gears up to meet the anticipated increase in demand and volumes.
"Nynas made a long term commitment to this sector a long time ago. We have conducted several years of thorough research and development using both our own researchers and external aid, such as leading experts at highly reputable rubber institutes. When the subject of new EU legislation concerning tyres rose, Nynas intensified this work," says Rangstedt.
As Lutze explains, tyre and polymer producers around the world are wrestling with the same questions: "Should the new oil match global, regional and/or local demands? How does replacing labelled with unlabelled oil affect the performance of a given tyre? Can the current production process be adjusted to the new oil? Will there be enough volumes of a particular unlabelled oil? And, last but not least, is there a supply infrastructure that ensures that needed volumes of the new grades get to the right place at the right time during the transition period?"
Nynas addresses all these questions. Depending on region Nynas offers several oils which are especially developed to work in every market and fulfil all tyre and polymer producers needs (see Figure 1).
"An important goal for us was to as far as possible meet the different requirements of tyre and polymer producers in every region," explains Rangstedt. "That is why we are the sole producer in the world today that can offer oils that are fully adapted to performance requirements in all markets: the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. We have a very broad spectrum of products, and we recently added one, Nytex 4700, which will work in all markets."
"When it comes to being able to give every tyre or polymer producer exactly what they need, regardless of market or region, Nynas is truly global," explains Lutze. "This has significant advantages for producers, as those who are producing the same tyre, based on the same recipe or formula, can easily replace the old labelled products with our oils, knowing for certain that it is the same grade everywhere in the world."
Because Nynas has been supplying and researching this market segment for many years it also has intimate knowledge of the performance needs of the finished product, the tyre itself. Lutze continues: "We are a global company with local presence. Our sales managers around the world, and our specialized technical staff, are engaged in ongoing discussions on how we best solve the problems and meet the demands of our clients, be that in Brazil or Japan. That's why we are confident that using our oils to replace labelled products will give a very acceptable perfomance level in the majority of cases. And by having local Nynas offices we also have a higher level of service. Replacing labelled products in production usually means that the formula has to be adjusted and if a customer desires a unique solution when doing this in order to meet their performance requirements then that is something that Nynas can offer."
Another key question for tyre and polymer producers who wish to change to unlabelled products is of course if there will be enough supply. Even though the new legislation only directly affects countries within the EU, it will have both a direct and indirect influence on producers all over the world since many of them export their tyres or polymers to Europe. As a consequence the demand for unlabelled products will go from relatively low to quite extensive in a short time. Today there is not one single supplier or product type that can meet the total expected market after 2010.
Lutze is confident that Nynas will be able to meet the needs of his customers: "We are adjusting production towards calculated needs as we speak, and we have already taken measures to ensure future demands."
He also makes the point that Nynas has a global logistics system in place, including a number of hubs and more than 20 depots in strategic locations (see map). "We are also introducing the possibility of arranging special 'tyre oil tanks' for our tyre and polymer customers, as an addition to the depots and tanks we already have in place for these product segments. The idea is quite simply to raise the assurance level of our supply chain for these producers in an effective and flexible manner."
Finally Lutze summarizes Nynas' position, today and for the future: "We are expanding our global operation to fulfil the increasing demand for our products in general but with a particular focus on environmentally safer process oil for the tyre industry."
Nynas has made tyre oils a top priority. We have developed a range of products and built up considerable knowledge of customer requirements. The company already produces a number of different non-labelled tyre oils, and other oils will follow based on customer demands. We are committed to being a long term partner to the tyre industry, irregardless of where production takes place, to which market products are being sold, and of local or regional demands. In every case we have a grade, or several grades, that matches both global and regional demands and requirements, and Nynas is currently the only supplier of label-free products for the global tyre oil market that can do this.