Weir Minerals, the sole producer of Linatex® premium rubber products, has expanded its rubber manufacturing facility in Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, doubling production capacity and enabling faster delivery times to customers.
The site, which sits on 18 acres (7.3 ha), has been expanded to include a new Continuous Rubber Process (CRP2) facility, a new Banbury mixer to manufacture masticated dry rubber and additional rubber presses to support the growth within this area of the business.
The modern manufacturing facility features state-of-the-art equipment that produces Linatex rubber products, a leading rubber used to protect equipment in mining, minerals processing and industrial applications for the global Weir Minerals network. The £13 million ($14 million) investment enhances Weir Minerals’ position as a global supplier, enabling the company to meet the increasing demand for premium rubber products and support its worldwide customer base, it said.
The new facilities were inaugurated by the President of Weir Minerals, Ricardo Garib, Vice President Operations of Weir Minerals, Richard Hinsley, and Managing Director of Weir Minerals Malaysia, Stephen Frendt.
Frendt said: “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.
“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.”
The investment is a testament to the company’s focus on material technology, it says, ensuring that Weir Minerals’ customers have access to the best elastomers and supporting continuous product development.
Garib added: “Linatex is a vulcanised 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 is
very significant to Malaysia and to Weir Minerals globally, and 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 has the lowest energy consumption compared with other rubber suppliers to the industry, it claims. A new renewable solar energy system has been installed on site in Batu Caves to further lower the power used in the rubber production process. The solar panels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 900 t CO2e/y, the company estimates.
Weir Minerals says it is also committed to further sequestering carbon by planting new trees on site and ensuring the natural surroundings are rehabilitated and preserved. All-local tree species were selected for this project after consultation with the local town council.
Hinsley said: “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. The Continuous Rubber Process has minimal waste, and even mixing requires less energy compared to 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.”