News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

September 22, 2018

Birla raising carbon black capacity in Spain

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 1:20 pm

On September 21, Birla Carbon Spain (Gajano, Spain), announced an investment of €5 million towards sustainability and energy efficiency projects and to increase its production capacity from 80,000 to 95,000 tons per year. The plant also inaugurated a new administrative office and laboratory complex within its premises. Earlier this year, Birla Carbon announced plans for expansion projects in Egypt, Italy, India, and Thailand.

In a press release announcing the project, Dr. Santrupt B Misra, Chief Executive Officer, Birla Carbon, stated, “At Birla Carbon, we are always striving to create our next opportunity. We always find such exciting opportunities by keenly listening to our customers and by identifying their needs around innovation and improvements. Birla Carbon’s Purpose – “Share the Strength”, brings the spirit of collaboration, engagement and action alive. Our investment into our Spain facility is yet another example of it”.

Speaking at the project’s inauguration, John Loudermilk, COO of Birla Carbon, said, “Birla Carbon is committed to investing in the future of our plants. While we are continuously innovating to ensure our products align to market needs, our technology teams are constantly working towards enhancing our processes to be more sustainable and efficient. Our announcement today, not only drives productivity higher but makes us more sustainable”.

BCS’s investment of €5 mn in the plant will achieve greater reliability and sustainability of its manufacturing process. The installation of new equipment in one of its manufacturing lines and the re-engineering of other critical equipment uses one of the best available technologies in the carbon black industry. These improvements will lead to greater productivity and environmental performance, as well as reliability, the company said in a press release.

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September 12, 2018

Carbon Black World coming in less than two weeks

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:50 pm

The Carbon Black World conference, which is held every other year, is coming to Dusseldorf from September 24-26. This is an essential conference for anyone interested in this industry. Notch will be giving a paper on the Carbon Black Global Outlook on Tuesday, September 25.

In addition to two days of talks, attendees should be aware of two preconference seminars being held on Monday, September 24. I will be attending both.

Morning seminar: The changing carbon black feedstock world and the impact of sourcing on total value, from Shane Perl of The Alpen Group. Covers the impending IMO2020 regulations and how they will affect carbon black feedstock availability and sourcing.

Afternoon seminar: Recovered carbon black – from promise to products, from Martin von Wolfersdorff of Wolfersdorff Consulting. Covers the emerging market for recovered carbon black — a panel discussion group with industry all-stars will discuss the current status, success & application stories and future technology for recovered carbon black from tyre pyrolysis.

September 11, 2018

Himadri adds US distributor for specialty blacks

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 5:49 pm

Indian carbon black producer Himadri Specialty Chemicals has selected Terra Firma (Towson, MD) as its exclusive distributor for specialty carbon black in Northeastern, Southeastern, and Southwestern United States effective September 6, 2018. The agreement covers carbon black grades with applications in plastics, inks, coatings, and wire and cable. Himadri is expanding both its capacity and grade mix for specialty blacks.

Tire recycler Black Bear is expanding

Filed under: Tire Recycling — Notch @ 4:40 pm

Rubber & Plastics News reports that Black Bear, a Dutch tire recycling company, has raised $12.8 million to refine its recovered carbon black (rCB) technology and start the global roll out of its cradle-to-cradle system. Black Bear has formed a new consortium with four partners: ING Group, investment firms 5square and Social Impact Ventures, and the Thai conglomerate SCG.

Black Bear’s industrial-scale prototype plant is located in Nederweert, Netherlands. It is capable of processing 1 million waste tires annually, thereby producing 5,000 metric tons each of rCB and bio-fuel, 3,000 tons of steel and one megawatt hour of green electricity per year. The new partnership aims to build up to 1,000 such plants worldwide.

Pirelli sells Venezuelan tire plant

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 4:32 pm

Tire Business reports that Pirelli & C. S.p.A. has “disposed” its tire plant in Guacara, Venezuela, to a consortium of South American entrepreneurs and a company called Sommers International. Pirelli ceased operations at the plant in late August. Pirelli deconsolidated its operations in Venezuela in 2015. The plant produces passenger car and light truck tires.

September 4, 2018

Orion announces leadership change

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:35 pm

Orion Engineered Carbons announced today that Jack L. Clem, 65, who has served as CEO since 2011, will retire from his role. He will be nominated to join the Board of Directors and during a transition period will act as an advisor to the company. Mr. Clem will be replaced as CEO by Corning F. Painter, 55, a longtime senior executive formerly at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Mr. Painter also will be nominated to join the Board of Directors. The appointment of Messrs. Clem and Painter to the Board of Directors is subject to approval by shareholders in an extraordinary general meeting to be convened for this purpose on October 16, 2018.

I met Mr. Clem at the first carbon black conference I ever attended (Carbon Black World in Houston in 2004). Though I was unknown in the industry at the time, he came up to me and stuck out his hand and introduced himself, which meant a lot to me. We here at Notch wish him well in all his future endeavors.

August 30, 2018

Michelin restarts production of OTR tires at Starr, SC plant

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 4:00 pm

The Anderson Observer reports that Michelin is restarting production of large OTR tires at its facility in Starr, South Carolina. The company held an event at the plant today, Thursday, August 30, to officially reopen manufacturing. The factory began production in January 2014 but production was idled in 2015 due to a downturn in global demand for large OTR and mining tires. The factory produces Michelin’s largest tires, including “the Earthmover,” which can stand up to 13 feet tall and weigh up to 5.5 tons. Roughly 80% of plant output is exported.

August 14, 2018

Continental Carbon announces carbon black price increase for US

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:16 pm

On August 10, Continental Carbon Company (Houston, TX) announced a price increase of $0.07/lb for all grades and customers effective October 1, 2018 or as contracts allow. The company said in a letter to customers that the move was necessary to recover mounting increases in operational, environmental, and logistical costs.

In addition, Continental Carbon announced two changes to its hopper car fleet. First, the company is adding to its fleet of hopper cars and will begin implementing a HC usage fee of $0.02/lb effective January 1, 2019. The second change is a modification to the company’s hopper car demurrage policy — the base portion of the demurrage policy will remain the same but the charge for HC’s held over 60 days will increase to $200/day.

August 13, 2018

Cabot raising prices for specialty carbon blacks

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:23 pm

Effective September 1, 2018, or as contracts allow, Cabot Corporation will increase prices up to 10% globally for specialty carbon products. This price increase is required due to escalating costs associated with logistics, raw materials, environmental compliance and capital improvements.

July 27, 2018

Cabot Corporation Announces Segment Management Changes

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 4:01 pm

Cabot Corporation announced that Nicholas Cross, executive vice president and president of the Performance Chemicals segment and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, will step down from these roles at Cabot for personal reasons. Mr. Cross joined Cabot in 2009 as vice president and general manager for the EMEA region and was appointed executive vice president and president, Performance Chemicals segment in 2014. During his tenure, he held a variety of leadership positions, including president of the Specialty Fluids segment.

“I have really enjoyed my time with Cabot, and am grateful to have spent nearly 10 years with this great company. I am proud of the Company’s accomplishments during my tenure and this will stand out as a career highlight for me,” said Cross. “I see exceptionally strong opportunities within the Performance Chemicals segment to accelerate growth and Cabot is uniquely positioned to capture this growth.”

Mr. Cross will remain with the company through the end of January 2019, providing advisory and transition support.

Read the full press release here.

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