News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

March 9, 2009

CBp Carbon Announces Sales Agreement for Recycled Carbon Black

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:20 pm

CBp Carbon Industries, Inc. (Bratislava, Slovakia) has announced the signing of a 20-year sale agreement for the company’s recycled carbon black (CBp Carbon Green) with Indonesia’s Triputra Group, a supplier of raw natural rubber to the tire industry. The agreement provides that, as and when CBp can deliver, for the first ten years Triputra will take deliveries of up to 200,000 tonnes of CBp Carbon Green per year at market discount, while for the next ten years Triputra will take 500,000 tonnes per year at market discount. CBp’s deliveries are optional and it need not deliver unless it can do so profitably.

Deliveries are expected to commence during 2Q or 3Q 2009 from CBp’s first generation Phase III commercial plant in Limasol, Cyprus, which is completing its final equipment installation. The plant is expected to begin commercial production within the next 60 days and is designed for 10,000 tonnes of tire processing per year (about 1 million tires). Of this total processed volume, about 30% results in CBp Carbon Green, or about 3,000 tonnes per year.

It is not clear from the company’s press release when it plans to scale up its scrap tire processing capabilities from its current 10,000 tonnes per year to the approximately 670,000 tonnes (67 million tires) it would require to produce 200,000 tonnes of recycled carbon per year, let alone the 1.7 million tonnes (170 million tires) of tire scrap it would require to produce 500,000 tonnes of recycled carbon per year.

Here is the press release (PDF).

Update: In response to questions regarding the size of the announced supply contract (200 KTPY) versus the company’s actual proposed capacity (3 KTPY), a spokesperson for CBp replied as follows: “Actually we are planning to build (roll out) more and larger plants around the world. This is expected to facilitate the contract. Announcements will be made in due course.”

Flexsys America Seeks Damages and Importation Injunction in Patent Case

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 10:29 pm

ST. LOUIS, March 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Flexsys America L.P., a subsidiary of Solutia Inc. (NYSE: SOA), today announced it is moving forward with its patent infringement case against Sinorgchem Co., Ltd. (Sinorgchem), Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (KKPC), Kumho Tire Co. Inc. (Kumho Tire) and Kumho Tire U.S.A., Inc. (Kumho USA) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. The suit claims infringement of U.S. patents held by Flexsys as a result of the importation, sale and use in the United States of 4-ADPA made by Sinorgchem, 6PPD and other antidegradants made from Sinorgchem’s 4-ADPA, and tires made by Kumho Tire containing those antidegradants. Flexsys is seeking a multi-million dollar damage award, as well as a permanent injunction against the defendants.

Originally filed on January 28, 2005, this case has been temporarily stayed by the court since May 30, 2007, pending the conclusion of Flexsys’ proceedings before the International Trade Commission (ITC). “In order to move forward in our preferred venue in Ohio and to have our case heard by a jury in Akron, we plan to voluntarily terminate all ITC proceedings and resume the Ohio case immediately,” said Tim Wessel, president of Flexsys. “We are committed to protecting Flexsys’ significant investments in the proprietary manufacturing of our rubber chemical products,” continued Wessel.

In the Ohio civil case, Flexsys will seek to present its patent infringement case to a jury and let the jury decide the issue of infringement. Flexsys will also ask for multi-million dollars in damages on the basis of tires sold in the United States containing infringing 6PPD and other antidegradants. The complaint originally named Sinorgchem, KKPC, Kumho USA, and Kumho Tire as defendants, “but given the amount of time that has elapsed since the complaint was filed, we are investigating other potential infringers, and will evaluate the appropriate steps as needed to enforce our rights,” said Mike Donnelly, vice president of Flexsys. Flexsys is also seeking a permanent injunction barring the importation, sale and use in the United States of Sinorgchem’s 4-ADPA, antidegradants made by Sinorgchem and KKPC from Sinorgchem’s 4-ADPA, and tires made by Kumho Tire and Kumho USA containing those antidegradants. “We respect the intellectual property rights of others, and we expect others – from suppliers to customers to competitors – to respect ours. We invest heavily in developing these processes and are committed to protecting that investment by enforcing our legal rights globally. This commitment ultimately benefits our customers,” Donnelly added.

The patents at issue in this case are U.S. Patents 5,117,063 and 5,608,111, which pertain to a three-step method of producing the chemical intermediate 4-ADPA, along with an additional step for converting 4-ADPA to products known as antidegradants. These products are used in the manufacture of rubber products such as tires, belts and hoses to prevent premature degradation due to exposure to sun, heat, ozone and other factors. One such antidegradant is 6PPD, which is manufactured and sold by Flexsys under the brand name Santoflex(R) 6PPD.

Here is the press release.

Bridgestone Introduces New Run-Flat Tire

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 3:58 pm

Bridgestone Corporation has announced the introduction of a “third-generation” run-flat tire for 2009, focusing on sales to original equipment manufacturers for installation in new passenger vehicles. Bridgestone is positioning the new run-flats as an environmentally-friendly option for OEMs to produce smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles (by eliminating the space and weight associated with a spare tire). Bridgestone estimates that eliminating spare tires from all vehicles would reduce tire demand by 59 million units, thus lowering CO2 emissions by 2 million tons per year (encompassing the spare tire’s entire life-cycle, from raw materials procurement through disposal).

Bridgestone’s first generation of self-supporting run-flats were introduced in 1987. These tires tended to give a hard ride comparable to conventional tires because the sidewalls were thick and somewhat inflexible. In 2005, Bridgestone introduced its second generation run-flat tires, which featured an improved sidewall-reinforced rubber compound that created a softer ride. According to the company, the new third-generation RFTs achieve riding comfort comparable to conventional tires. Perhaps as importantly (from an adoption standpoint), the new tires will be available in a wider range of sizes, including sizes that were previously difficult to develop. Previous generations of self-supporting run-flats have been largely concentrated in high performance tires with very low aspect ratios.

Here is a link to the press release on the new tires, which is quite detailed and informative.

March 5, 2009

Rhodia Appoints New President of Silica Division

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 1:23 am

On March 4, Rhodia announced the appointment of Emmanuel Butstraen as President of the SILCEA Enterprise and a member of the company’s Extended General Management Committee. He will also take over the representation of the Group in the Rhone-Alpes region.

Here is the press release.

March 4, 2009

Huber On Schedule for REACH Registration for Silica

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 12:46 am

Huber Engineered Materials issued a press release today reporting that, as a member of the Silica and Silicates Consortia, it has successfully registered synthetic amorphous silica with the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki, Finland for the EU’s REACH chemical registration program.

According to the REACH chemicals regulation, which came into force in June 2007, existing substances –- substances already listed in the inventory under the old chemicals legislation –- had to be preregistered by Dec. 1, 2008, as a first step (as to achieve “phase-in” status). This was accomplished on schedule for all products of Huber’s silica business unit. The registration phase for substances handled in quantities of more than 1,000 metric tons per year ends in November 2010.

Here is the press release.

New Hollow Carbon Particle a Potential Replacement for Carbon Black

Filed under: Carbon Black, General — Notch @ 12:12 am

From Nanowerk News comes word of a new hollow carbon particle produced from biomass, which could potentially become a replacement for carbon black (and presumably silica as well).

Katsumi Kamegawa, the Biomass Refining Technology Team, the Biomass Technology Research Center of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), has developed a new method for producing ultra-lightweight hollow carbon fine particles (diameters ranging from several nanometers to several tens of micrometers) from lignin, which is a byproduct obtained in large quantities during the manufacture of paper or bio-ethanol, and inorganic salts.

Rubber or plastics can be reinforced by these particles, instead of carbon black, and would be lightweight materials with improved properties.

The lightweight hollow carbon fine particles developed in this study have sizes in the range of a few nanometers to several micrometers. Since these hollow carbon particles have large surface areas and the fabrication conditions can be controlled to obtain carbon particles with good elasticity, we will conduct researches in applications to rubber reinforcing materials, lightweight filler, flexibility-imparting materials, heat insulators, electrical conductors, anti-static materials, adsorbents, and controlled-release materials.

March 2, 2009

EU Approves Columbian Acquisition

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 4:28 pm

Thomson is reporting (subscription required) that the European Commission has cleared One Equity Partners’ acquisition of a 66.75% stake in Columbian Chemicals. The purchase will make Columbian a wholly-owned subsidiary of One Equity Partners. In December, DC Chemicals announced it would sell its two-thirds stake in Columbian. In January, the EC announced that it would investigate the acquisition, which will have no effect on concentration levels in the European carbon black industry.

Fire at Texas Carbon Black Plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:48 am

A fire erupted at Sid Richardson’s carbon black plant in Borger, Texas on Thursday, February 26, when part of a furnace fell from a wall. The fire caused minimal damage, and the company reports the plant is operating normally. There were no injuries.

Here is the original article.

Update: Here are some pictures of the fire from the Borger News Herald.

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