“In Mexico, we are the benchmark of the synthetic rubber industry, and thanks to the current capacity that we have, we export around 60% of our production.”
Can you provide a brief history of Grupo Dynasol, including how the company was formed between Repsol and KUO Group?
Repsol and KUO Group are the shareholders of Grupo Dynasol. The partnership was formed in 1999, and back then, the joint venture included only two plants; one in Santander, Spain and one in Altamira, Mexico. These plants were dedicated to the manufacturing of solution styrene butadiene rubber (SBS & SEBS). In 2015, the partnership was strengthened by the addition of two business units; General Química in Álava, Spain and Industrias Negromex in Altamira, Mexico. General Química is dedicated to the production of accelerators and antioxidants for the rubber industry and Industrias Negromex produces emulsion styrene butadiene rubber (ESBR) and nitrile rubber (NBR).
Additionally, we have two JVs in China. One plant is in Nanjing and produces nitrile rubber (NBR) and another in Panjing Liaoning which manufactures styrene butadiene-styrene (SBS) and solution-styrene butadiene rubber (SSBRs).
Today, Dynasol Group has Commercial offices in Houston and our headquarters are in Madrid.
What is the significance of Mexico for Dynasol in relation to the company’s global operations?
Mexico is important for us, but it is important to note that Dynasol Group is global company. Practically 40% of the production we have in Mexico stays in the country, and the rest is exported. We export to all the main markets, not only the US, which is very important for us, but also Europe, Latin America, and in smaller proportion to Asia. At around 500,000 tonnes of production per year, Dynasol Group is in the top 10 global producers of synthetic rubber. In Mexico, we are the benchmark of the industry, and thanks to the current capacity that we have we export around 60% of our production.
Which trends have you noticed in the synthetic rubber and chemical rubber markets, and where has the most demand come from in 2021?
We make rubber for a great variety of segments: from chewing gum to pressure-sensitive adhesives, compounding and asphalt modification. The markets of asphalt modification for paving and roofing are very important for Dynasol. We also manufacture rubber for the tire industry, automotive, insulation for refrigeration systems, medical devices, and footwear. Each market has its own tendencies, but one common theme is that each market is looking to transition to new generations of ecofriendly and sustainable products. At the COP26 summit in Glasgow there was an agreement to give electric cars a predominant role for 2030. This is a catalyzing transformation which is accelerating many of the projects and goals of the companies we supply to.
As for demand, the asphalt market is performing well because infrastructure projects that were delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic managed to start in 2021. Low interest rates in the US stimulated growth in the roofing market. Fast consuming goods (FCG) propelled demand for adhesives for packaging and labels since the pandemic started, and Dynasol has an important participation in this segment. The tires sector for new vehicles was hit when the shortage of microchips affected the automotive industry however this moderate decline was offset by strong demand from the replacement segment, as miles driven improved significantly in 2021. In general, the global economic recovery has resulted in robust demand across all segments that Dynasol Group serves.
Can you explain how Dynasol turns challenges into solutions through innovation?
Our Technology team develops solutions considering social and environmental impacts whilst responding to market trends.
A good example is the products that we currently have for the asphalt segment. We are working to develop products more respectful of the environment and human health by reducing its energy and materials requirements, increasing its durability and safety, as well as facilitating its recyclability. Our high vinyl SBS is an example of a more sustainable solution. The high content of vinyl helps the tar crosslink process which allows to remove sulphur and its H25 toxic emissions. It also reduces its energy requirements due to its lower viscosity and increases the durability of the asphalt mix and its compatibility with different quality tars.
Plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental concerns at the global level. The lack of biodegradability and its accumulation in nature have driven the use of recycled plastics. However, during the post-consumption reprocessing, plastics partially degrade losing its properties.
With this issue in mind, we have developed the products Calprene 700 and Calprene H6180X that facilitate the up cycling of different types of plastic waste such as propylene, polystyrene, or polyethylene, improving their resistance to low temperatures and its processability and keeping the fluidity required.
Looking forward, Dynasol Group has a growth project in Santander, where we are about to begin construction of a line of 25,000 metric tonnes of production of SBRs to supply the European market locally, as well as expansion projects in Mexico. The capacity increase in both locations will help us address logistics challenges that most of our customers have had in America and Europe since 2020.