News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

October 29, 2009

Notch Publishes Silica Market Update

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 11:09 am

Notch Consulting this month published the first issue of the Silica Market Update, a new, twice-yearly report updating conditions in the global precipitated silica market. The 31-page report includes 17 tables that provide detailed estimates of precipitated silica demand by quarter for 2008 and 2009, as well as forecasts for full year 2009, 2010, and 2015. Data are provided at the world and regional levels, as well as for major countries. The report also provides current precipitated silica pricing levels, status updates on 19 recent and pending projects related to precipitated silica production capacity, and a ranking of global precipitated silica capacity by company as of September 2009. The next issue of the Silica Market Update will be published in March 2010. For subscription rates and options, please contact Notch Consulting at info @ notchconsulting.com.

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October 26, 2009

Cabot Commissions Tianjin Plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:13 am

On Friday, Cabot officially announced the commissioning of 150,000 metric tons of manufacturing capacity at its carbon black facility in Tianjin, China, bringing the plant’s annual production capacity to nearly 300,000 metric tons. The manufacturing facility is a project of Cabot Chemical (Tianjin) Co., Ltd., an equity joint venture between Cabot (China) Limited, and Shanghai Coking Chemical Company, a member of the Huayi Group. Cabot and Shanghai Coking have been joint venture partners since 1988.

Here is the full announcement.

Bridgestone to Close Last Tire Plants in Australia, New Zealand

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 10:07 am

Australia and New Zealand will lose their last tire manufacturing capacity based on Bridgestone Australia’s announcement on Friday that it plans to close its tire plants in Adelaide, Australia and Christchurch, New Zealand. Goodyear shut its tire plant in Somerton, Australia in June, leaving Bridgestone as the only producer in the region. Bridgestone Australia, a unit of Japan’s Bridgestone Corporation, said that, despite cost-cutting efforts, tire production at these plants was not viable because of international competitive forces. The closures will take effect at the New Zealand manufacturing plant by the end of 2009 and at the Australian facility no later than 30th April 2010. Bridgestone Australia will retain its headquarters in Adelaide, continuing its sales, distribution, retail and other business activities throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Here is the full announcement with additional details.

October 22, 2009

Goodyear to Close Spartanburg

Goodyear has announced that it plans to close its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina by the end of the year. The plant, which employs about 90 people, produces retread material for commercial truck and aircraft tires. According to a Goodyear statement, the production will be incorporated into other Goodyear facilities in the US.

October 21, 2009

ASTM Updates Carbon Black OAN Standard

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 5:21 pm

From European Rubber Journal (subscription required) comes word that the US Standards body, ASTM, has updated ASTM D2414 to D2414 – 09a. Standard Test Method for Carbon Black—Oil Absorption Number (OAN). The oil absorption number of a carbon black is related to the processing and vulcanizate properties of rubber compounds containing the carbon black.

Here is the listing.

Tire Recycling Plant Opens

Filed under: Carbon Black, General, Tire Recycling — Notch @ 5:14 pm

Carbolytic Materials Co. L.L.C. has announced that its tire recycling plant in Maryville, Missouri has opened. The plant recycles tire scrap to produce a carbon black alternative called ApexCM™ that the company says is suitable for commercial use as a lower-cost, carbon black replacement in applications such as hoses, gaskets, belting, roofing materials, and plastic piping, among other products.

This blog previously wrote about the Carbolytic Materials plant here.

In October 2008, the company received $12.4 million in financing from the Missouri New Markets Development program, which enabled the company to build the new manufacturing facility in rural Missouri. The plant employs 30.

The plant has a capacity of more than 15,000 tons of used tires annually. According to the company, each ton of carbon black replacement it produces represents 380 recycled tires, 760 gallons of oil saved and 3,800 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions kept out of the atmosphere.

Here is the press release.

Upcoming Conferences

Filed under: Carbon Black, General, Tires — Notch @ 4:40 pm

A list of upcoming conferences at which Notch will be presenting:

Carbon Black 2009 – Perspective in Asia Pacific
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Dates: November 18-20, 2009

Tire Technology Expo 2010
Location: Cologne, Germany
Dates: February 9-11, 2010

Carbon Black China 2010
Location: Chongqing, China
Dates: April 18-21, 2010

October 15, 2009

Flexsys Restarts Idled Sulfur Plant

Filed under: insoluble sulfur — Notch @ 10:08 pm

Citing improved demand, Flexsys announced yesterday that it plans to restart an idled insoluble sulfur plant in Monongahela, Pennsylvania in early November. The plant was idled in June 2009.

The text of the press release follows:

ST. LOUIS October 14, 2009 – Solutia Inc. (NYSE:SOA) has recently announced its plans to reopen its Monongahela, Pennsylvania, manufacturing site by early November.

“Demand for Crystex insoluble sulfur has improved significantly since the first quarter of 2009,” said Greta Senn, vice president of Crystex. “We look forward to welcoming back our employees and serving our customers. Restarting the plant will continue to ensure a steady and reliable supply of insoluble sulfur to our tire customers worldwide.”

Solutia’s Monongahela plant was temporarily idled in June 2009.

Solutia is the world’s leading producer of chemicals for the rubber and tire industry. Crystex insoluble sulfur prevents sulfur migration and is critical for the manufacture of quality radial tires.

October 9, 2009

Cooper Expanding at Texarkana

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 8:47 am

On Monday, October 5, Copper Tire & Rubber announced that it planned to increase production capacity at its tire plant in Texarkana, Arkansas by January 1, 2010 in response to stronger demand for its tires.

The full text of the press release is below.

Cooper Tire’s Arkansas Operation Moving to Seven Days

FINDLAY, OHIO, OCTOBER 5, 2009 — COOPER TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY (NYSE: CTB) has announced a plan to increase production capacity at its Texarkana, Ark., tire operations. Responding to growing market demand for its products, the operations will shift to a 24/7 operation. The new production schedule will begin January 1, 2010, and approximately 200 additional employees will be required to support the increased production volume. The shift in production will be accomplished over several months in 2010. The facility produces passenger and light truck tires for the replacement markets.

“We are excited about this opportunity to enhance our production capabilities,” said John Bodart, Cooper Tire’s Vice President of Manufacturing for its North American Tire Division.

Cooper has also recently announced expansion plans at its Tupelo, Miss., plant and the continual ramp-up of its operations in Mexico. The Company’s Findlay, Ohio, manufacturing plant is also expected to increase production volumes.

“Through a focus on continuous improvement we are always in a process of improving our capabilities,” continued Bodart. “This allows us to deliver high quality, cost competitive products to our customers and consumers. These moves are logical steps that align with our strategic goals.”

Vietnam Bans Exports of Silica Sand

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 12:45 am

Updated: Subsequent to the original report below, the Vietnamese government clarified that the ban would cover only construction sand, and would not cover industrial sand, as previously reported.
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On October 7, Industrial Minerals (subscription required) reported that the Vietnamese government has banned exports of all types of silica sand, including construction and industrial grades. The ban was instituted by Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, and is effective immediately.

As this ban was being considered, Notch heard from silica producers in the region concerned about how the ban would affect regional supplies of sodium silicate, as Vietnam is known as an exporter of high quality sand.

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