News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

January 19, 2021

Ferentino Tyre opens tire plant in Sri Lanka

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 9:22 pm

From Rubber & Plastics News comes word that Ferentino Tyre Corp. Pvt. Ltd., an enterprise backed by United Arab Emirates-based investment company Onyx Group, has commissioned production at a $250 million tire factory at a site southwest of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The project was previously known as Rigid Tyre Corp., which announced in January 2017 that it would build a tire plant in an industrial park in Horana with equipment provided by Italy’s Marangoni Group. Ferentino Tyre commissioned the new plant in a ceremony on January 14. The plant has capacity for passenger, SUV, truck and two- and three-wheeler tires, and annual capacity is projected to reach 2.4 million units. Investment of the first phase is $100 million. Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed by March 2022.

US Tire Manufacturers Association issues statement on California’s proposed actions on zinc and 6PPD in tires

Filed under: Regulatory, Rubber Chemicals, Tires — Notch @ 9:14 pm

On January 12, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association issued a statement in response to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) announcement that a petition to review zinc in automobile tires under the state’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations has been granted. The USTMA’s statement follows in its entirety:

The decision to grant a petition to add vehicle tires containing zinc oxide to the California Safer Consumer Products Regulations Priority Products list will not achieve its intended purpose.  However, we support DTSC’s decision to include discussions about 6PPD in future workshops and we support designating 6PPD in automobile tires as a Priority Product for review under the state’s green chemistry program.

Zinc
Zinc is found naturally in the environment and is contained in many products including galvanized metal, fertilizer, paint, batteries, brake pads and tires.  Research demonstrates that discharges of domestic wastewater and galvanized metal surfaces account for 75% of zinc in the environment, while tires typically account for less than 10%.

Because zinc is widely used in many products, zinc water quality issues can only effectively be mitigated through a collaborative, holistic approach. Since 2016, USTMA has worked with the California State Water Resources Control Board, the International Zinc Association, and the California Stormwater Quality Association as part of a collaborative process to identify effective solutions to zinc water quality issues in the state.  USTMA continues to believe that this effort is the most promising avenue to resolve California’s zinc water quality issues, and we urged DTSC to support this collaboration before moving to a narrow focus on zinc in tires under the Safer Consumer Products regulation.

Zinc oxide plays a critical and irreplaceable role in manufacturing tires. Zinc oxide serves as an “activator” in the vulcanization process that turns soft, sticky rubber into stable components that allow a tire to carry the weight of a vehicle and to stop safely. Manufacturers have tested a variety of other metal oxides to replace or reduce the use of zinc but have not found a safer alternative. Without the use of zinc oxide, tires cannot meet federal safety standards.  ​

6PPD
Tire manufacturers recommended adding 6PPD to the Priority Products Work Plan following a recent study that suggests a link between Coho salmon mortality and a transformation product of 6PPD from tire and road wear particles (TRWP) called 6PPD-quinone. The tire industry uses 6PPD to help tires resist degradation and cracking, which is vital for passenger safety. 6PPD has been studied, but not enough is known about the newly discovered transformation product, 6PPD-quinone. We are committed to collaborating with researchers and regulators in California and Washington to better understand this material, fill knowledge gaps and determine next steps.

Tire manufacturers’ commitment to sustainability
Tire manufacturers are dedicated to understanding and reducing the environmental impact of their products. USTMA members — both individually and through partnerships — are working to incorporate more renewable and recycled materials into tires, enhancing biodiversity and reducing dependence on non-renewable feedstocks. Cooper, Goodyear, Pirelli, and Continental are working with academic institutions and other partners to explore the use of dandelions as an alternative to rubber. Bridgestone, Goodyear, Yokohama and Hankook are replacing petroleum in tires with vegetable, soybean or orange peel oil.

We intend to continue advancing this commitment to sustainability through collaboration with the California State Water Resources Control Board and California Stormwater Quality Association to help find effective solutions to the state’s zinc-related water quality issues.

January 13, 2021

European Carbon Black Summit scheduled for Frankfurt in June

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 12:39 am

The European Carbon Black Summit will be held on June 23/24, 2021 at the Crown Plaza Frankfurt Congress Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany. This two-day event will cover issues affecting the European carbon black industry, including feedstock issues, sustainability, and market conditions. Details are here.

January 12, 2021

India’s Finance Ministry removes import duty on carbon black from China and Russia

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 11:21 pm

From the Hindu Business Line comes word that India’s Finance Ministry has decided not to impose anti-dumping duty on imports of carbon black (used in rubber applications) from China and Russia. The previous duties, which were in place for five years, expired on December 31, 2020. In making the decision, the Revenue Department turned down the recommendation of the Directorate General of Trade Remedies, which recommended the continuation of the anti-dumping duties for another five years. For carbon black imports from China, the recommended anti-dumping duty was $494 per ton, while the recommended duty for imports from Russia was $36.17 per ton. The decision affects only rubber blacks; specialty blacks used in plastics, inks, and printer cartridges are excluded.

Bridgestone reaches deal to divest Firestone Building Products

Filed under: General, Rubber — Notch @ 1:09 am

Bridgestone Americas Inc. has reached an agreement to divest its Firestone Building Products unit, which produces commercial roofing and building envelope solutions. France-based LafargeHolcim Ltd. will acquire the business for $3.4 billion. LafargeHolcim is a leading global supplier of building materials, including cement and ready-mix concrete as well as roofing, with a focus on sustainable building solutions.

Jan Jenisch, LafargeHolcim CEO, said in a statement, “With Firestone Building Products we are strengthening our biggest market, the US, while also building a global growth and innovation platform for the company.”

January 11, 2021

Fire consumes Hexpol Compounding site in Tennessee

Filed under: General, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 11:17 pm

Hexpol Compounding’s rubber compounding plant in Jonesborough, Tennessee caught fire in the early morning of January 7, causing workers to evacuate and sending one person to the hospital. Thick smoke from the fire was visible for hours as firefighters fought for more than 24 hours to bring the blaze under control.

In a statement, Hexpol said,

Jonesborough, TN, 1/7/20 – At approximately 1:30 am CST on January 7th, HEXPOL’s Jonesborough rubber compounding facility, located in Jonesborough, TN, had a significant fire in the facility.

Emergency protocols were immediately activated, and 22 employees were evacuated from the facility.  One employee is being treated for injuries.  At this time, there are no fatalities.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and HEXPOL is fully cooperating with governmental officials.

Local authorities have begun investigations into the cause of the fire.

Orion raises 4Q guidance on stronger volumes

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:48 pm

Last week, Orion Engineered Carbons raised its fourth-quarter guidance for adjusted EBITDA earnings to a range of $64–67 million, up from the previously issued range of $44–55 million that was included in its third-quarter results on November 5, 2020. 

“Our adjusted guidance is predominantly attributable to our specialty carbon black business unit, driven by considerably higher volumes, which rose low-double digits sequentially,” said Orion’s CEO Corning Painter in a press release. The company also experienced “slightly less” seasonality than anticipated in its rubber carbon black business, where volumes declined mid-single digits sequentially. “We believe both of these trends are an indication that our customers restocked their inventories, to some degree during the quarter, to better manage their supply chains,” he added. 

The temporary nature of restocking, combined with broader uncertainties in the economy, make it difficult to forecast how demand will develop from now on, according to Painter. “However, our current order book indicates a strong January and we expect robust demand as the global economy recovers,” he said.

Orion’s results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2020 will be released on February 18

December 17, 2020

Orion adds cogen unit at Qingdao

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 1:53 pm

Orion Engineered Carbons has completed a multi-year upgrade to its carbon black plant in Qingdao, China. The project included the installation of a state-of-the-art cogeneration unit, which recovers energy from the production process to generate electricity for use internally at the plant as well as up to 5,000 homes in the district. This is the second cogen unit Orion has started up recently, following another project completed in October at its Borger, Texas plant.

December 2, 2020

USTMA raises forecast for US tire shipments in 2020

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 12:48 am

On December 1, the US Tire Manufacturers Association announced a significant revision to its forecast for US tire shipments. Even with the improved outlook, however, total shipments in 2020 are expected to fall 10.3% from 2019 levels.

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) projects U.S. tire shipments will total 298.3 million units by the end of 2020, compared to 332.7 million units in 2019. This forecast represents a significant improvement of nearly 19 million units from the 2020 volume USTMA forecasted in July, reflecting industry resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compared to 2019, Original Equipment (OE) shipments for passenger, light truck and truck tires are expected to decrease by 20.4%, 18.0% and 29.0% respectively, with a total reduction of 12.4 million units. Replacement passenger and light truck tire shipments are projected to decrease by 9.5% and 1.8% respectively, with truck tire replacement shipments showing a modest decline at 2.1%. The total unit reduction for replacement tires is projected to be 22.0 million units.

Mitsubishi invests in Monolith Materials for clean hydrogen production

Filed under: Carbon Black, General — Notch @ 12:39 am

Monolith Materials (Lincoln, Nebraska) has announced an investment from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America to support its innovative commercial-scale, emissions-free hydrogen manufacturing technology. The announcement is the latest in a series of recent strategic investments made by MHI in support of achieving a decarbonized world. Monolith Materials is the first U.S. manufacturer to produce a clean, industry-transforming hydrogen known as “turquoise hydrogen” on a commercial scale.

“Successfully scaling Monolith’s technology to serve a global marketplace will benefit from the kind of investment that we have from MHI,” said Rob Hanson, co-founder and CEO of Monolith Materials. “This relationship will be a model for evaluating future investment opportunities to make emissions-free hydrogen the standard around the world.”

Through an innovative and proprietary breakthrough in commercial-scale methane pyrolysis, Monolith is now manufacturing emissions-free, economically sustainable hydrogen using 100% renewable energy. Monolith’s hydrogen is classified as “turquoise hydrogen,” which meets the industry standard for the cleanest hydrogen available today.

Monolith Materials, which was founded in 2012, developed a process technology that converts natural gas into clean hydrogen and carbon black. The company is currently in the operating stage of Olive Creek 1 (OC1), its first commercial-scale emissions-free production facility designed to produce approximately 14,000 metric tons of carbon black annually along with clean hydrogen. In addition to producing carbon black and clean hydrogen, the company recently announced its plans to produce emissions-free ammonia at a second phase production facility known as Olive Creek 2 (OC2) in Hallam, Nebraska.

 

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