News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

September 21, 2017

Hankook debuts first American-made tire line

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 4:00 pm

Hankook Tire America Corp. has introduced the Kinergy PT (H737), a premium touring all-season tire that is the first product made exclusively at the company’s new plant in Clarksville, Tennessee.

The KINERGY PT utilizes a specially formulated tire compound to enhance traction in all conditions and a strong rolling resistance profile to improve mileage performance. The tread design incorporates a high-stiffness center rib and unique circumferential out grooves for optimized water evacuation, providing excellent traction in both wet and dry conditions. When temperatures dip below freezing, the KINERGY PT tire’s wider footprint will provide a better cornering response and improved handling.

The Kinergy PT will be one of the primary tires produced at Hankook’s Clarksville plant, its first production facility in North America.

Read the full press release here.

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Goodyear, Giti, Hankook plants due on stream

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 3:42 pm

With three new factories poised to begin production in the coming months, tire manufacturing in North America will see a significant boost.

Together the plants — Goodyear’s in San Luis Potosi, Mexico; Giti’s in Clarksville, Tenn; and Hankook’s in Richburg, S.C., represent nearly 17 million units of new annual capacity for passenger and light truck tires.

Giti and Hankook have scheduled ribbon-cuttings for October. Goodyear has yet to announce similar plans for its factory.

Goodyear’s plant, its first new factory in the Americas in 25 years, represents an investment of $550 million and is rated at 6 million tires a year.

Giti’s 1.8 milllion-sq.-ft. plant represents a $560 million investment. Capacity will be 5 million car and light truck tires a year

Hankook’s 1.5 million-sq.-ft. Clarksville plant represents a $580 million investment. The firm, a unit of South Korea’s Hankook Tire Co. Inc., plans to ramp up production steadily by 2018 to the rated capacity of 16,000 units a day.

Sourced article can be found here.

Cabot Opens Asia Technology Center in Shanghai

Filed under: Carbon Black, Rubber — Notch @ 12:51 pm

On September 14, Cabot Corporation officially opened its new Asia technology center on the campus of its regional headquarters in Shanghai.

The nearly 48,500-sq.-ft. technology center will enhance Cabot’s application development capabilities and will provide a “collaboration platform to deliver innovative solutions” to customers throughout Asia Pacific.

Bringing together approximately 30 researchers and scientists from all of Cabot’s businesses, the lab will support Cabot product lines including rubber and specialty carbons, fumed metal oxides, masterbatch and compounds, activated carbon and inkjet colorants with testing and development capabilities that closely represent Cabot’s customer applications.

“This investment in China is strategically important to our ability to deliver on our vision and goal of driving application innovation with our customers by developing solutions that deliver advanced performance,” President and CEO Sean Keohane said.

Read the full press release here.

September 13, 2017

Goodyear breaks ground on Luxembourg tire plant

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 12:26 pm

Goodyear broke ground yesterday on a passenger tire plant in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg “that utilizes an innovative production process to meet growing customer and consumer demand for premium tires.”

Named Mercury, the proprietary process features highly-automated, interconnected workstations, using additive manufacturing technologies to efficiently produce premium tires in small-batch quantities on-demand for replacement and original equipment customers.

“Mercury addresses the increasing complexity in the tire industry as the number of vehicle models and options available to consumers continues to proliferate,” said Richard Kramer, Goodyear chairman, CEO and president.

The new facility, set to open in 2019, is in close proximity to Goodyear’s Luxembourg innovation center and tire proving grounds. The company is investing $77 million in the facility, which will produce approximately 500,000 tires annually.

Goodyear also has truck tire plant in Colmar-Berg.

Read the full press release here.

September 8, 2017

Safic-Alcan extends carbon black deal with Orion

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:57 pm

Safic-Alcan Deutschland and Safic-Alcan Belgium, subsidiaries of the Safic-Alcan Group, have announced an extended distribution agreement with Orion Engineered Carbons effective October 1st.

The new agreement will focus on distribution to rubber customers and will include the regions DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and Benelux, in addition to the already-covered regions of France and the UK.

“With this step, we underline our commitment to the rubber industry and are confident that the excellent service offered by Safic-Alcan is ideally suited to the performance of our products,” stated Udo Engels, Vice President EMEA, Rubber Carbon Black, Orion Engineered Carbons GmbH.

The full press release can be found here(pdf).

Birla Carbon’s greenfield plant commences operations in China

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:17 pm

Birla Carbon announced today that it has started operations at its greenfield carbon black facility in Jining, China.

Said Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group, “While the Aditya Birla Group has always had a presence in China, we have not leveraged the potential that both we as a Group and China as a marketplace had to offer. We are delighted to have finally taken the right step to invest in a meaningful way in this great country of culture, history and civilization.” He further stated, “The Jining plant is well ahead of its time, whether it be the manufacturing processes involved or the environmental standards it follows. Everything that we have learned over our 150 plus years of manufacturing carbon black around the world has been poured into this facility. It is, in a manner of speaking, our magnum opus.”

China is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for carbon black with a forecast to grow at a CAGR of 7% by 2021. The new production plant will exclusively cater to the Chinese customer base and will accommodate the growing demands for superior quality, technical solutions and performance.

The Birla Carbon Jining plant will produce traditional ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) grades and specific Birla Carbon grades for customers in China. The ASTM grades will focus on the tire industry while many of the Birla Carbon grades will support mechanical rubber goods and other customer requirements.

The plant, which currently has an installed capacity of 120,000 metric tons, will expand to 240,000 metric tons in phase 2.

Read full press release here.

September 5, 2017

Huber closes sale of silica business to Evonik

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 8:02 am

The J.M. Huber Corporation has completed the sale of the Silica business unit of Huber Engineered Materials (HEM) to Evonik Industries AG, a global specialty chemicals company. The $630 million transaction, completed after approvals from the European Commission and other global regulatory bodies, transfers ownership of the HEM Silica facilities in North America, Europe and Asia to Evonik, effective 1 September 2017.

Strategically, the transfer of the Silica business is advantageous for both companies. Proceeds from the sale will enable Huber to invest and expand its product portfolio in other areas, including potential future acquisitions of specialty chemicals or materials businesses. For Evonik, bringing together the two diverse Silica businesses will further improve the company’s value proposition as an integrated global provider, better positioned to serve a broader base of customer needs, particularly in North America and Asia.

Read the full press releases from Huber here and Evonik here.

August 31, 2017

Impact of Hurricane Harvey on US Carbon Black industry

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:49 pm

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. The images of not only the devastation but also the resilience and generosity of the people of Texas and Louisiana is humbling.

Here is an update on the effect that the hurricane is having on the US carbon black industry. Concern has been high as nearly 80% of US carbon black capacity is located in Texas and Louisiana and supplies in the US market are already tight.

As of Thursday morning, Harvey — now downgraded to a Tropical Depression — was over northern Louisiana on a northeasterly route that will take it through northern Mississippi and central Tennessee and into West Virginia/southern Ohio by Friday evening. The storm made its final landfall around 3:30 AM CDT Wednesday morning near Cameron, Louisiana, which is about 240 miles west of New Orleans.

The path of the storm raised concerns about four CB plants:

  • Orion Engineered Carbons’ plants in Orange, TX and Ivanhoe, LA
  • Cabot Corporation’s plant in Franklin, LA, and
  • Columbian Chemicals’ plant in Franklin, LA

Of these, Orion’s Orange, TX plant was most directly in the storm’s path. On Wednesday afternoon, company sources indicated that Orange had to be shut down temporarily due to an external power outage. Around noon on Thursday, company sources said that power would be restored on Thursday afternoon and the plant restart process would begin immediately thereafter. The plant itself sustained no damage, and raw material supplies are secure. The three coastal Louisiana plants (Orion Ivanhoe, Cabot Franklin, and Columbian Franklin), which are grouped close together just west of New Orleans, were largely unaffected.

Additionally, two US CB suppliers with office space in Houston reported no flooding and expected office hours to resume soon.

With carbon black capacity largely unaffected, the longer term effects of the storm relate to three issues:

1. Feedstock issues: more than 30% of US refining capacity was directly affected by the storm, particularly in the Houston, Corpus Christi, and Baytown areas but also in Beaumont and Port Arthur. Potential issues include flooding, disrupted crude oil supplies, and power outages. Despite these issues, as of Thursday, none of the CB suppliers I spoke with had been notified of potential problems with feedstock deliveries, but obviously those issues may still arise as refining capacity is assessed.

2. Other raw material issues: It is possible that the storm may cause shortages of other key raw materials, including butadiene and synthetic rubber, and that may cause problems for tire plants that would affect carbon black deliveries.

3. Logistical issues: Shipping channels, rail lines, and trucking routes have been affected by flooding. No word yet on severity, but obviously these issues could reverberate down the entire supply chain over the next few weeks.

 

August 30, 2017

Pyrolyx begins construction of recovered carbon black plant in U.S.

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tire Recycling — Notch @ 10:42 am

Pyrolyx A.G. has begun construction of a recovered carbon black plant in Terre Haute, Indiana. The German company said once fully operational, the facility can produce nearly 13 metric tons of carbon black per year at full capacity and will be capable of recycling about 4 million tires a year, with a staff of 55.

Pyrolyx will finance the project with the proceeds of $30.2 million in Economic Development Solid Waste Facility Revenue Bonds issued by a U.S. subsidiary, Pyrolyx USA Indiana L.L.C., the company said.

Niels Raeder, CEO of the Pyrolyx Group said: “By building its second plant – now in the USA, the Pyrolyx Group is emphasizing its global expansion plans. The increase in its production capacity will uniquely allow Pyrolyx to meet the growing demand for recovered carbon black. Even before construction begins, we have signed long-term purchase contracts for Pyrolyx rCB.”

Pyrolyx expects the plant to be in operation by May 2019.

Read the full press release here.

Sourced article found here.

Tokai acquires full ownership of TCP

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:14 am

With the purchase of the 5% stake it had not already owned, Tokai Carbon Corp. has acquired full ownership of Thai Tokai Carbon Product Co. Ltd. (TCP).

TCP was established in 1989 as a carbon black manufacturing and selling company through a joint venture consisting of several companies in Thailand.

In 1990, Tokai Carbon started a technology licensing agreement with TCP and acquired a 25% interest. It subsequently acquired 95% ownership.

Making TCP a wholly owned.

Sourced article found here (subscription required).

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