Weir Minerals expand Linatex rubber production
Investment in Malaysian rubber product manufacturing facility doubles production capacity
WEIR Minerals, sole producers of Linatex premium rubber products, have expanded their modern, state-of-the-art rubber manufacturing facility in Batu Caves, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 18-acre site has been expanded to include a new Continuous Rubber Process (CRP2) facility, a new Banbury mixer to manufacture masticated dry rubber, together with additional rubber presses. As a result, production capacity has been doubled, allowing faster delivery times of more rubber compounds.
The £13 million investment will enhance Weir Minerals’ position as a global supplier of the world’s leading rubber used to protect equipment in mining, minerals processing and industrial applications.
The new facilities were inaugurated by Ricardo Garib, president of Weir Minerals, Richard Hinsley, vice-president of operations, and Stephen Frendt, managing director of Weir Minerals Malaysia.
‘Our site manufactures Linatex rubber sheet and moulded rubber products for process equipment used in mining and industrial applications. This expansion will allow us to service the growing demand in the market – not just now but for years to come,’ commented Mr Frendt.
‘The investment in the CRP2 allows us to increase the production capacity for the high wear and abrasion-resistant Linatex rubber sheet. The rubber mixing process expansion, on the other hand, is an upstream vertical integration of the supply chain in which masticated dry rubber compounds, such as R55, are manufactured and distributed worldwide from the facility here at Weir Minerals Malaysia.’
Ricardo Garib said: ‘Linatex is a vulcanized natural gum rubber, which is produced through a unique liquid-phase proprietary process. Manufactured from a renewable resource, the final product is 95% natural rubber made from the highest-quality latex. Our rubber manufacturing facility, which is very significant to Malaysia and to Weir Minerals globally, continues to showcase our dedication to the environment and sustainable practices.’
In line with Weir Minerals’ dedication to sustainable solutions and practices, the Linatex rubber manufacturing process already said to have the lowest energy consumption compared with other rubber suppliers to the industry. A new renewable solar energy system has been installed on site in Batu Caves that will further reduce the power used in the rubber production process, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by almost 900 tonnes of CO2e per year.
Weir Minerals are also committed to further sequestering carbon by planting new trees on site and ensuring the natural surroundings are rehabilitated and preserved.
‘Sustainability is an inherent part of Linatex production, starting with latex being a natural and renewable resource sourced directly from the Hevea Brasiliensis trees, to working with ‘green’ suppliers, to manufacturing,’ said vice-president of operations Richard Hinsley.
‘The Continuous Rubber Process has minimal waste, and even mixing requires less energy compared with other rubbers. Sustainability is also an important part of our supply chain; we have been investing in Malaysia for a long time, employing local workers, providing community support, and partnering with local suppliers, some of whom have been with us for over 30 years.’