SOURCE: Lehigh Technologies LLC

September 12, 2006 09:00 ET

Lehigh Technologies Unveils Next Generation Rubber Powder at ITEC 2006

High Quality, Ultra-Fine Engineered Rubber Powder Features Superior Flowability, Consistency

AKRON, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 12, 2006 -- Lehigh Technologies LLC., a leading manufacturer of engineered rubber powder, today announced it is premiering PolyDyne™, its ultra-finely ground engineered rubber powder at the International Tire Exposition and Conference (ITEC) 2006, held here at the John S. Knight Center from September 12-14. Dramatically different from "crumb rubber" of the past, Lehigh's PolyDyne engineered rubber powder is viewed as a cost-saving, high quality additive to hundreds of rubber and plastic manufacturing processes. Lehigh Technologies is exhibiting PolyDyne at Booth #1019.

For more than a decade, recycling companies have provided the tire industry with crumb rubber -- coarsely ground scrap tire rubber that has been used in limited amounts. "Issues of quality have always plagued the use of crumb rubber," stated John Fahl, former president of operations at a leading tire manufacturer. "Impurities like steel and fiber were left in the material, and the large particle size precluded its use except for trace loadings in some tread compounds."

With PolyDyne, Lehigh Technologies is introducing a new raw material that offers pricing stability and budgeting certainty to companies beleaguered by the spiraling costs of today's polymers and chemicals. This especially rings true in the tire industry. PolyDyne begins as crumb rubber; it is then purified to remove the steel, fiber and moisture that have plagued recycled material in the past. This purification happens in Lehigh's manufacturing line as the crumb is processed to particle sizes an order of magnitude finer than crumb rubber and on par with carbon black. Lehigh's engineered rubber powder can then be used in significant loadings in the tread, innerliner and sidewall, helping to increase performance and cut tens of millions of dollars from raw materials budgets.

"Using rubber powder has never been a challenge for the industry," said Karl Albertson, formerly a director of purchasing for a leading tire manufacturer. "The challenge has been making it. If PolyDyne had been widely available when I was a buyer, I would have viewed it as the most substantial cost-savings opportunity for the purchasing community. And that was before the price of natural and SBR rubber went through the roof."

The key to PolyDyne's value lies in its extremely small particle size and consistency of quality. When put into production, the difference between 50 mesh and 120 mesh is considerable. The flowability and dispersion of the finer, high quality powder enables companies to increase loadings significantly while actually improving certain properties like tensile strength and tan delta.

Lehigh has measured the flowability differences for various particle sizes and quality levels with the only FT4 Powder Rheometer in use in the industry, located in its state-of-the-art laboratory at its Atlanta-based manufacturing plant. These studies have been made available to several plastics and rubber companies. Working with industry chemists, Lehigh has also demonstrated that even conservative loadings of PolyDyne in various tire compounds could be saving companies tens of millions of dollars each year on raw materials.

"With the cost of raw materials continuing to rise, tire companies are naturally looking for relief. Incorporating PolyDyne into the manufacturing process enables these companies to better control material costs. The particle size consistency and flowability of PolyDyne, which is available in commercial volumes, provides manufacturers with the assurance they require," said Dennis Gormley, CEO of Lehigh Technologies. "In addition to cost savings, PolyDyne can also contribute to performance enhancements as we've witnessed with customers in the plastics industry."

Lehigh is currently operating at capacity to fulfill existing orders; however, Gormley promised that the company would double its operating capability by the end of the third quarter. "At that time, we will be able to produce more than 100 million pounds of PolyDyne annually, and we have already started plans for a second plant to come online next year. We will be able to meet the industry's demand, no matter how great."

Several prominent tire industry executives have joined Gormley and Fahl as investors, directors or advisors to Lehigh Technologies. These include: Ross Roberts, formerly the President of the Ford Motor Division at Ford Motor Company; Lee Fiedler, formerly the President of The Kelly-Springfield Tire Company and a member of the Tire Industry Association's Hall of Fame; and Robert Transou, formerly the Vice President of Global Manufacturing at Ford Motor Company.

About Lehigh Technologies, LLC

Lehigh Technologies provides engineered ultra-fine rubber powder that delivers enhanced performance, as well as manufacturing cost savings and environmental benefits, at a price point that is affordable and sustainable for low-to-high volume applications. Unlike crumb rubber recyclers and other suppliers in the past, Lehigh produces engineered performance fillers, modifiers and additives enabling manufacturers across a variety of industries to easily include rubber powder as a strategic ingredient into their manufacturing process without compromising the integrity of their products. Headquartered in Naples, Florida, the company is privately held. For more information, please visit

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