News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

December 13, 2018

Continental Opens Research Laboratory for Dandelion Rubber

Filed under: Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 2:52 pm

Continental A.G. has inaugurated its laboratory in Anklam, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, for research into the production of rubber from the Russian dandelion, one year after breaking ground on the 323,000-sq.-ft. facility.

The Taraxagum Lab Anklam, which represents an investment of nearly $40 million, is dedicated to the study of dandelion rubber farming and extraction methods, working toward producing an alternative to traditional rubber tree plantations in the tropics.

Nikolai Setzer, a member of the Continental board and head of its Tire division, noted that the company intends to use dandelion rubber routinely within the next 10 years. The ultimate goal, he added, is for Taraxagum-branded products to meet a significant part of the company’s natural rubber requirement.

“We see Russian dandelion as an important alternative and complement to conventional natural rubber from hevea brasiliensis to allow us to meet rising global demand in an environmentally compatible and reliable way,” Mr. Setzer said.

Read the full press release here.

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Nokian opens North American headquarters in Nashville

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 2:04 pm

Nokian Tires P.L.C. has opened its North American headquarters in Nashville, to house the company’s sales, customer service, IT, logistics, and marketing teams. The Finnish tire maker’s previous North American headquarters in Colchester, Vt., will continue to serve as an office and distribution warehouse.

“We are pleased to be a member of the Nashville and Tennessee business communities, and we look forward to deepening relationships here and continuing our successful growth,” said Mark Earl, senior vice president, Americas.

Nokian recently revealed its plan to double sales in North America over the next five years. The plan will be boosted in 2020, when Nokian’s first U.S. plant is slated to open in Dayton Tenn., around two hours from Nashville.

Read the full press release here.

Cooper Tire and Sailun form joint venture for Vietnam TBR plant

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 1:41 pm

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is forming a joint venture with Sailun Vietnam Co, Ltd to build a two million capacity truck and bus radial manufacturing plant. Pending closing and government approvals, the facility will be located near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, at the site of Sailun Vietnam’s existing operations, which early in 2018 signed an offtake agreement to produce Roadmaster, Dean and Starfire brand tires for Cooper.

Sailun Vietnam operates two factories in Vietnam, including the Chinese manufacturer’s first outside its domestic market, located on Phuoc Dong Industrial Park, Tay Ninh Province, and manufactures car, truck, and OTR tires, with facilities for technical research for future product development.

Cooper will own 35 per cent of the new venture. Total investment in facility and equipment in the joint venture is expected to be between $220 and $240 million. Cooper said it would be funded through capital contributions and debt, with Cooper being responsible for its pro rata share.

Construction of the facility is expected to begin in early 2019, with production beginning in the first half of 2020.

Referenced article found here.

November 26, 2018

Sumitomo adopts sustainable natural rubber policy

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 8:30 pm

Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. recently announced its participation in the launch of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR). As a founding member of GPSNR, the Sumitomo Rubber Group has also established its own “Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy” with the aim of making natural rubber a sustainable resource for the future. The establishment of this new platform, which aims to set global standards for sustainable natural rubber, was initiated by the CEOs of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Tire Industry Project (TIP) in November of 2017 and finalized with a launch event held in Singapore on October 25, 2018.

Sumitomo’s Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy is founded on the following six principles:

1. Zero Deforestation & Environmental Considerations (Reducing Our Environmental Footprint)
2. Respecting Human Rights
3. Ensuring Thorough Compliance
4. Enhancing Transparency & Traceability (The ability to clearly trace the natural rubber supply chain (place of origin, distribution channels, etc.)
5. Improving Agricultural Productivity (Supporting Natural Rubber Supply Chains on the Upstream Side)
6. Promoting Health & Safety Considerations

Bridgestone adding capacity at Tennessee plant

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 8:05 pm

Bridgestone Americas is expanding capacity at its Warren County, TN, truck/bus tire plant by about 8 percent, to 9,400 tires a day by year-end 2020. The $40 million project includes adding 32,000 square feet of manufacturing space to accommodate new equipment at the 28-year-old plant in Morrison, Bridgestone said. Groundbreaking is expected before year-end.

November 12, 2018

BKT budgets $200 million to upgrade, expand capacities in India

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tires — Notch @ 12:02 pm

Off-highway tire maker Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) is budgeting more than $200 million to upgrade and expand capacity for tires and carbon black at plants in India.

The Mumbai-based company disclosed the plans, affecting its plants in Bhuj and Waluj, in an investors presentation for the firm’s fiscal 2019 second quarter.

The investments in India are in addition to the $100 million BKT is committing to build a tire plant in the U.S. and include upstream component supply that will impact the U.S. investment.

The company plans to invest $72.5 million to replace a 30-year-old farm/industrial/OTR tire plant in Waluj, Maharashtra, with an expanded factory on a 22-acre greenfield site nearby. The plant’s capacity will remain at roughly 30,000 metric tons per year but at a facility with its own co-generation power plant and warehousing. The current plant is size-restricted and operating at “sub-optimal” levels, BKT said.

They also plan to invest $72.5 million to add 5,000 metric tons of annual production capacity at the 5-year-old Bhuj, Gujarat, factory, in particular for larger sizes, along with a rubber mixing plant and additional warehousing. The investment includes the addition of building equipment for the larger-sized tires.

A third investment, of $61.6 million, is designated for the construction of a carbon black plant on the grounds of the Bhuj factory complex in northwest India. The new plant, rated at 140,000 metric tons a year at full capacity, will supply the new U.S. plant in addition to BKT’s Indian facilities, BKT said. The plant will start producing in March 2019 at an annualized rate of 60,000 tons and ramp up to full capacity by March 2021.

Read the full report here.

BKT plans $100 million investment for U.S. tire plant

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 11:49 am

Off-highway tire manufacturer Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT) is budgeting $100 million for the new tire plant it is planning to build in the U.S., the company disclosed this week.

The new factory will be BKT’s first factory outside of India and fifth tire plant overall. BKT is India’s fifth largest tire maker and thirty-ninth worldwide, based on fiscal 2017-18 sales of $692 million.

The company said it expects the new plant to open in the first half of 2021 with a capacity of 20,000 metric tons per year. That’s smaller than any of the company’s four plants in India. By comparison, the company’s newest factory, in Bhuj, Gujarat, is rated at 130,000 tons per year.

In a November investors presentation, BKT said the new plant would allow it to accelerate its business with North American equipment makers by being able to offer faster deliveries as well as enable it to export to neighboring countries “in a more competitive manner.”

BKT is represented in North America by BKT USA Inc. in Fairlawn, Ohio.

Read the full report here.

Black Bear secures $5.7 million to advance recovered carbon black technology

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tire Recycling — Notch @ 11:22 am

Dutch cleantech company Black Bear Carbon B.V. has raised $5.7 million from venture capital firms Capricorn Venture Partners and Particon. This funding, combined with the money it raised in early September, will support advancements in its recovered carbon black (rCB) technology as well as the global roll-out of its “cradle-to-cradle” system.

Black Bear has developed a “tire to carbon black” technology with a unique carbonization process to produce rCB from end-of-life tires.

Capricorn Venture Partners is an independent European manager of venture capital and equity funds, investing in innovative European technology companies. It is based in Leuven, Belgium.

Particon is an independent venture capital firm in Limburg, Netherlands.

Read the full press release here.

November 6, 2018

Orion acquires French acetylene black producer

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 6:20 pm

On November 1, 2018, Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire acetylene carbon black manufacturer Société du Noir d’Acétylène de l’Aubette, SAS [SN2A] from LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V. and its French affiliate. SN2A was founded in 1987 and is headquartered at Berre l’Etang, near Marseille, France.

Acetylene black is an ultra-pure premium specialty carbon black distinguished by its high electrical and thermal conductivity. Lithium-ion batteries and high-end electrical cables are key applications for this material.

“SN2A brings us a skilled team, proven technology and an operating plant. With this platform we are going to significantly strengthen our capabilities in the lithium-ion battery market and broaden our position in other attractive markets,” said Corning F. Painter, Chief Executive Officer of Orion Engineered Carbons. “This bolt-on acquisition is a perfect fit with Orion’s focus on Specialty Carbon Blacks. We look forward to welcoming the SN2A team to Orion and bringing Acetylene Black into our portfolio.”

The agreement with LyondellBasell includes provisions for a secured long-term feedstock supply. Orion plans to strengthen production capabilities at the Berre l’Etang facility.

The transaction closed on October 31, 2018.

October 31, 2018

Solvay Silica wins Michelin Supplier Award 2018

Filed under: Silica, Tires — Notch @ 10:58 am

Solvay has won the Michelin Supplier Award 2018 for supplier excellence in quality, innovation and corporate social responsibility, underlining the strong partnership between Michelin and Solvay. Solvay manufactures and supplies highly dispersible silica for energy saving tires.

Solvay, selected from about 40,000 companies worldwide, received the Award from Jean-Dominique Sénard, CEO of Michelin, at the company’s headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

“Solvay’s Silica teams are geared towards finding out and knowing what customers value, to deliver the innovations that meet their demands for safe, fuel-efficient tires and through all this, build a relationship of trust. We are proud that Michelin, with this Award, recognizes our collective dedication and know-how and the contribution we’ve made to sustainable value and mobility,” said An Nuyttens, President of Solvay’s Silica Global Business Unit.

Presented for the fourth time since its creation in 2011, the Michelin Supplier Awards recognize suppliers that are exemplary in meeting the company’s high standards and in their commitment to building a genuine partnership.

Read the full press release here.

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