News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

April 19, 2008

CAFC Denies Rehearing in 4-APDA Case

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 12:24 pm

According to Rubber & Plastic News (subscription required), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last week denied Flexsys’ petition for a rehearing before the entire 11-judge panel regarding its ongoing patent infringement case against Shandong Sinorgchem. The petition involved a December 2007 decision from a 3-judge panel that vacated and remanded a February 2006 decision by the US International Trade Commission that found that Sinorgchem had infringed on the Flexsys patents (Flexys America’s U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,117,063 and 5,608,111) related to the manufacturing of 4-ADPA, the precursor to 6PPD.

This means that the case is being sent back to the ITC to address unresolved issues, which in this case involve the specifics of the two production processes. In other words, the case will continue in the courts with no resolution for some time.

Previous discussion of this issue on this blog can be found here and here.

Xingda International Expands Tire Cord Capacity

Filed under: Tire Cord — Notch @ 11:26 am

From Tire Review comes news that Xingda International Holdings, a producer of radial tyre cord and bead wire based in Jiangsu Province, China, is expanding its capacity for high performance tyre cord by 40,000 to 50,000 tons per year in each of the next three years at the company’s Factory No. 8.

Below is a copy of the company’s 2006 financial results. Details on the company’s expansion plans are on slide 17.

xingda-international-holdings-2006-results

Here is the press release on the results and expansion project.

xingda-press-release

From the Tire Review article:

At the end of 2007 the company’s radial cord capacity stood at 237,100 tons, a 22.2% increase over 2006, the company reported in its annual statement. The utilisation rate of this tyre cord was 84%, only marginally lower than the year before. The Jiangsu Province-based firm aims to reach a total radial tyre cord production capacity of approximately 400,000 tons by 2011.

April 14, 2008

Reflections of Guilin

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:48 am

I was in Guilin, China last week for the Carbon Black China 2008 conference. The conference has been held since the mid-1980s, but this is the first year that participants from outside China have been invited. Notch Consulting Group was invited to present a keynote address, “Carbon Black Industry Outlook,” which was rounded out by an excellent slate of speakers and papers over two days. It was a well organized and valuable conference in one of the most naturally beautiful places I have ever visited.

I have received updates on some pending expansion projects in the carbon black industry, including projects in India, Nigeria (discussed below), and Saudi Arabia. Details on these projects will be included in the Mid-Year Update for the Carbon Black World Data Book, which will be sent to subscribers this week. To obtain this update or the Carbon Black World Data Book, contact Notch Consulting Group.

Below are some photos of the city. For more photos, click this link.

Below: The Guilin Park Hotel, site of the conference.

Below: the Sun & Moon Pagodas, on Banyan Lake, Guilin. They are more beautiful lit up at night but my photo didn’t turn out.

Below: Fubo Hill.

April 13, 2008

Warri Refinery Back in Operation; Carbon Black Unit to Restart in April

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 4:00 pm

According to a press release from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the company’s refinery at Warri, Nigeria was restarted in February 2008. The refinery was shut down for two years, and the start-up process involved extensive repairs to the refinery itself as well as the often-vandalized Chanomi Creek pipeline, which is the refinery’s only source of crude. The refinery at Kaduna, which is supplied by the same pipeline, has also been restarted.

According to an article in Newswatch magazine, the Warri refinery is operating at 60% of capacity, which is 125,000 barrels per stream day. The refinery produces liquefied petroleum gas, premium motor spirit, kerosene, automotive gas oil, fuel oil, polypropylene pellets, hard carbon black pellets, and power plant and utilities.

Several consultants working with NNPC attended the Carbon Black China 2008 conference last week. According to these sources, the carbon black unit is still shut down, but is expected to be restarted in April. The FCC unit at the refinery started up in March, and decant oil became available late last month. Beyond the lack of feedstock, the carbon black plant has had persistent problems within the reactor unit, so it is not known whether the unit will be functional. If a new reactor is required, startup will be significantly delayed. NNPC is working with the China Carbon Black Institute, the sponsors of the conference, to supply technology and know-how for the unit, possibly including the construction of a new production unit.

Cabot Shuts Down Waverly

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:57 am

Cabot ceased carbon black production at its Waverly, West Virginia plant as scheduled at the end of March. We previously wrote about the closure here.

April 1, 2008

RJ Lee & Delta-Energy to Build Tire Recycling Plant in PA; Will Produce Recycled Carbon Black

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tire Recycling, Tires — Notch @ 2:27 pm

According to a March 26, 2008 article in the Observer-Reporter, The RJ Lee Group, a consulting and development group based in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, has proposed plans to build a tire recycling plant at the Paisley Industrial Park in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania.

The plans will be reviewed by the [Planning] commission at its April 7 meeting in the second floor conference room at the Greene County Office Building. The company earlier had applied for a state permit for the plant, which will employ a new method the company has developed and patented to recycle used tires. Plans submitted to the commission indicate the company will construct two buildings, together containing 44,500 square feet of floor space, on a 10-acre site on Areford Boulevard in the park.

On March 31, the Observer-Reporter published an editorial in support of the plant.

The plant will use a new depolymerization process supplied by Delta-Energy, which formerly was part of RJ Lee Group. The patented process reportedly results in higher quality raw materials than those produced from traditional high-heat pyrolysis. Delta-Energy currently operates a pilot plant in North Dakota that is producing recycled carbon black, as well as oil and syngas.

Delta-Energy’s North Dakota tire recycling facility produces recycled carbon black that is being sold into “virgin” markets, including rubber and pigment applications. Most applications are in the mechanical rubber goods area. The carbon black is marketed as D-E Black.

According to sources at Delta-Energy, if the plant is approved it will come on-stream in 4Q 2008 and will have a capacity of about 35 tonnes of tire shred per day, resulting in about 14 tonnes of carbon black per day, or about 5,000 tonnes per year.

Delta-Energy presented a paper on its process at last year’s Tire Tech Expo in Cologne.

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