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Solvay unveils Efficium® a breakthrough Highly Dispersible Silica for productivity and performance of automotive tires

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Press release

Cologne (Germany), February 10, 2015 --- Solvay Silica is unveiling Efficium® a breakthrough Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) , an innovative reinforcing filler which allows for higher productivity and greater flexibility in producing green passenger car and truck tire compounds.  

The unveiling is taking place this week at the Tire Technology Expo in Cologne, Germany.

Highly Dispersible Silica is a benchmark for energy-saving and high-performance tires for passenger cars. Efficium® offers breakthrough benefits for the automotive industry, allowing for increased productivity due to its impact on mixing and extrusion throughput and adding flexibility thanks to its silanization control and reformulation opportunities without compromising on rolling resistance, wear and grip. Efficium® strongly facilitates the conversion from carbon black to HDS compounds.

“We have recognized the needs of tire manufacturers for a more cost-competitive silica technology to differentiate their product offer with an innovative solution that also supports demanding energy efficient and safety requirements. Efficium® Highly Dispersible Silica opens up the answers to these needs on a superior property balance over other silica or silica-based solutions” said Christian Léger, Global Business Director of Solvay’s Silica Global Business Unit.  “Efficium® provides a unique and flexible solution to meet the global needs of sustainable mobility”.

Efficium®‘s wider operating window is characterized by lower Mooney viscosity, lower temperature sensitivity, better dimensional stability during extrusion and extended storage life of uncured rubber. All of these advantages result in a more versatile product for a broader range of passenger car, commercial vehicles and heavy-duty truck applications.

The benefits of Efficium® have been analyzed and confirmed at industrial scale under realistic conditions. Both passenger car and heavy-truck were manufactured tires then road tested with substantial results,” said Jean-Francis Spindler, Research & Innovation Director of Solvay Silica. “For truck tire tread compounds, Efficium® HDS delivers significant productivity benefits of up to 30 percent in mixing and extrusion, while rolling resistance and wear meet and even exceed reference levels.”

Tire makers are experts when it comes to balancing conflicting criteria, seeking to combine minimum rolling resistance, optimum wet grip and cost-effective production. Efficium® offers all these characteristics in one package that addresses productivity and performance without compromise and answering the needs of all stakeholders.

To meet expected demand beyond current trial and testing by major tire manufacturers, Solvay is making Efficium® HDS globally available from three different production sites consistently with its business continuity management policy.

Solvay Silica is the inventor of Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) in the 1990's and a key player in energy-saving tires. Its innovative solutions provide tire manufacturers worldwide with the means to progress in sustainable mobility. With nine manufacturing sites and four R&I laboratories on as many continents, Silica also offers a range of applications in personal care, such as toothpastes and exfoliating beads, in animal nutrition, high-performance membranes and in rubber reinforcement.

As an international chemical group, SOLVAY assists industries in finding and implementing ever more responsible and value-creating solutions. Solvay generates 90% of its net sales in activities where it is among the world's top three players. It serves many markets, varying from energy and the environment to automotive and aeronautics or electricity and electronics, with one goal: to raise the performance of its clients and improve society's quality of life. The group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 29,400 people in 56 countries and generated 9.9 billion euros in net sales in 2013. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on EURONEXT Brussels and EURONEXT Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB:BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR).