The Butyl Rubber business unit of German specialty chemical group LANXESS is playing vital roles in the pharmaceutical, medical and chewing gum industries. The use of butyl rubber in these industries illustrates their superior and innovative applications outside the tire industry.
Pharmaceutical and medical industries
The demands by the medical and pharmaceutical sectors on elastomers and their vulcanizates are extremely high. LANXESS halobutyl rubbers are generally preferred because they ensure adequate protection of sterile pharmaceutical products against external contamination during storage and use.
LANXESS halobutyl rubbers are widely used in pharmaceutical rubber products, such as closures for infusion containers, injection vials, lyophilization, and blood collection tubes. Manufactured to stringent requirements, pharmaceutical closures often come into direct contact with pharmaceutical products, either dissolved or in other forms.
LANXESS halogenated grades are also found as O-rings and gaskets in a variety of aerosol containers and inhalers. In addition, they are used in plungers for applications such as infusion pumps, pre-filled syringes, insulin injectors and dental aesthetics.
LANXESS regular butyl also plays a significant role in the medical and pharmaceutical industry in respiratory masks and tubes.
Chewing gum industry
LANXESS is the only supplier of regulatory-approved, food-grade butyl rubber used for making the gum base in chewing gums. Within non-tire applications, the chewing gum industry is, next to the pharmaceutical industry, an important market segment for LANXESS’s Butyl Rubber business unit.
LANXESS Butyl 101-3 is a specialty product manufactured for the chewing gum industry. Because of its direct contact with human saliva, Lanxess applies the most stringent quality control standards for this grade consistent with national standards worldwide relevant to this application. Chewing gum made of butyl rubber has a protective dental function and thus meets modern consumer requirements particularly well.
In addition, due to its low permeability, flavor is retained longer than natural rubber-based products and the transmission of air and water are minimized.
Further, the butyl rubber’s outstanding stability and resistance to aging resists hardening during shelf storage and retains the soft texture required for sticky gums. It also serves as a hydrophobic plasticizer, providing softness and smoothness for chewing.
The Butyl Rubber business unit is one of the leading producers of synthetic rubber, with annual sales of over EUR 500 million, and is part of the Performance Polymers segment. The segment recorded sales of EUR 2.539 billion in the first nine months of 2008.
LANXESS offers a range of butyl rubbers that consists of three product families – regular butyl, bromobutyl and chlorobutyl rubber. Only a very few manufacturers worldwide have mastered the production of the latter two, often referred to as halobutyl rubber. The most important market for halobutyl rubbers is the tire industry – it uses these rubber raw materials to make gas-tight inner liners in tubeless tires for cars, trucks and buses.
LANXESS (lanxessgoesasia.com) is a leader in specialty chemicals with sales in 2007 of EUR 6.61 billion and currently around 15,000 employees in 21 countries. The company is represented at 44 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacture and sale of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.