News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

August 29, 2008

Columbian Chemicals Opens Bahia Plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 3:00 pm

Columbian Chemicals announced that it has inaugurated its new plant in Bahia, Brazil.

Today Columbian Chemicals Co. hosted an inauguration celebration for the company’s new plant in Camaçari Pole, a chemical complex in the Bahia state of Brazil. The project began in September of 2005 and utilizes the latest environmental and energy conservation technologies. The US$75 million facility’s production capability of 75,000 metric tons can be expanded as the market develops.

Here is the press release.

Concarb Decision: Ominous Sign for US CB Industry?

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tire Recycling, Tires — Notch @ 2:49 pm

The August 25, 2008 edition of Rubber & Plastics News featured an editorial (subscription required) about the recent Continental Carbon verdict that sees the decision as an ominous sign for the US carbon black industry.

Concarb’s [Kim K.T.] Pan, who feels justice wasn’t served, warned that even a shred of evidence can elicit a lawsuit. “There’s no downside for them; it’s a lottery mentality, and all they have to do is hit on one of them to collect. It can happen to any company.”

Amen, say executives at various tire companies caught in the tire recall juggernaut that began with the Ford Explorer-Firestone SUV tire controversy of the early 1990s. One after another faced lawsuits as trial lawyers found the industry easy pickings. Settle rather than fight it out was the norm for the tire makers.

Now that one of the carbon black producers has been hit with a huge judgment, you can be sure that somewhere a law firm is nosing around, trying to find a similar case to pursue.

That’s how the game is played.

This issue of R&P News also included a Materials Update dedicated to carbon black. The update included five articles related to carbon black production and use:

  • Continental Carbon fights challenges in N.A.
  • Delta-Energy expands capacity in North Dakota
  • Sid Richardson touts SR401 grade carbon black
  • Cancarb makes upgrades to keep up with thermal black
  • A reinforcing agent used with virgin carbon black

Evonik Degussa to Close US Carbon Black Plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:27 am

On August 28, 2008, Evonik Degussa Corporation announced that it planned to cease production at its carbon black plant in Aransas Pass, Texas by the end of 2008. The move will affect 30 of 38 positions at the plant. The plant will continue to ship carbon black until year-end to fulfill existing contracts. After manufacturing has ceased, the site will be used as a warehouse.

The Aransas Pass plant, located 220 miles south of Houston, began operations in 1941 as a two-unit channel black plant. Furnace black production at the site began in 1977, when the plant was purchased by Ashland. Degussa bought the plant in 1988.

Degussa Evonik said that the decision came after an intensive review of its North American operations, and is accompanied by an investment program to increase efficiencies at the company’s remaining US plants, located in Ivanhoe, Louisiana; Orange and Borger, Texas; and Belpre, Ohio. These investments have already begun, according to the company.

Ruediger Eberhard, Head of Evonik’s Rubber Reinforcement Business Line, said that in order for the company to remain competitive in today’s global marketplace, it must fully utilize the capabilities of its carbon black operations, concentrating resources at more efficient facilities that can compete in today’s challenging environment.

Here is the press release.

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