News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

October 28, 2010

Cabot to close masterbatch facility in Italy

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:55 am

On October 25, Cabot announced that it intends to cease manufacturing at its masterbatch facility in Grigno, Italy effective February 28, 2011. According to the release, the decision was made as a result of a broad reaching analysis aimed to align Cabot’s manufacturing capabilities with the business strategy and market growth opportunities. An in-depth assessment of customer requirements and the competitive landscape relative to Grigno’s cost structure, technology capability and scalability, among other factors, led to the decision.

Press release.

October 27, 2010

PCBL Details Expansion Plans, including Vietnam Plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 5:04 pm

Coinciding with the release of its latest quarterly results, Phillips Carbon Black has updated its expansion plans.

Speaking about new projects, [PCBL Chairman Sanjiv] Goneka said negotiations were being held between Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu for a possible largest carbon black unit among the group that would be based close to a port.

“Ideally, I am trying for a largest single location carbon black plant, but that would depend on land and environmental issues,” Goneka said. He did not specifically declared the installed capacity of the proposed fifth unit but agreed that installed capacity could be as high as 2,00,000 MT per annum for the new plant.
“The project would be finalised in the next fortnight and then complete details can be provided, Goenka said. At present, the largest capacity plants of the company is in Durgapur with 140,000 MT. Goenka said all approvals had been received for Vietnam project of 55,000 tonne and financial closure would be achieved in the next three to four months.

“We also hope to double the Vietnam project to one lakh tonne after commencing the first phase as large tyre capacity is coming up there including from Indian companies like J K tyre,” he said. The current carbon black capacity is 3.6 lakh tonne per annum and is the largest in the country.

October 26, 2010

Carbon Black World Interview with Lorenzo Zullo of ETRMA

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:10 pm

The Carbon Black World conference site has an exclusive interview with Lorenzo Zullo of the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturer’s Association (ETRMA). The conference is coming up next month in Rome. Notch will present a paper at the conference entitled Current Conditions & Global Outlook for Carbon Black.

From the interview:
IntertechPira: Your presentation will focus on future chemical legislation that could potentially impact carbon black use in rubber. In your opinion, what are the most significant upcoming legislative changes that should be of concern to the carbon black industry?

Mr. Zullo: Two of the most European legislative changes that should be of concern to the carbon black industry and downstream users are the introduction of new chemical restrictions under REACH (Regulation 1907/2006, Annex XVII) and the expected future legislative development in the area of nanomaterials.

Notch publishes Silica Market Update, including a special report on silica in green tires

Filed under: Carbon Black, Silica — Notch @ 7:15 am

Driven by sustained recovery in tire, non-tire rubber, and industrial markets, global demand for precipitated silica rose nearly 15% in the first half of 2010 compared to the first half of 2009. Global demand excluding China rose more than 21% in 1H 2010 compared to the same period of 2009. Notch forecasts that full year demand in 2010 will grow 11% over 2009, or more than 14% if China is excluded from the data. Suppliers are expanding capacity to meet new demand, including major recent projects by Huber and Rhodia in China, while Evonik Industries recently announced plans to expand its global silica capacity by 25% through 2014.

These projections are included in the new issue of the Silica Market Update, which is a bi-annual report on the global precipitated silica industry. The new report is 39 pages, with 16 tables. As always, the report comes with a separate spreadsheet providing substantial supplemental data.

Among the noteworthy additions to this report are:

  • Global market share by company in dollars, including breakouts by region and product segment,
  • The latest information on expansions, shut-downs, and restructuring
  • Global capacity by company and plant

In addition, the new Silica Market Update includes a special report on precipitated silica in green (i.e., fuel-efficient) tires, which consists of the following sections:

  • A comparison of the relative advantages and disadvantages of carbon black and silica as reinforcing fillers in rubber;
  • A price comparison between carbon black and silica/silane fillers systems;
  • A comparison of carbon black and highly dispersible precipitated silica volumes in head-to-head competition (i.e., passenger tire treads) by region (North America, European Union, China, Other Asia, and Other Regions);
  • An overview of recent green tire product introductions; and
  • An overview of recent legislation affecting future demand for green tires.

To order the report or for more information, contact Notch Consulting at

PPG reduces production, declares force majeure for Lake Charles silica plant

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 7:00 am

On September 15, 2010, PPG Industries notified customers that it was declaring force majeure for its Lake Charles, LA silica plant due to “premature and unanticipated tube failures and mechanical problems with certain of its Dryers.” The problem affected only one of the plant’s five units, but it was one of the larger units. PPG expects to have the equipment repaired and the unit operational before the end of 2010. Customers of the affected grades have been put on allocation until the problem is resolved. The affected grades are as follows: Hi-Sil 210, Flo-Gard 213, Hi-Sil 213, Hi-Sil 233, Hi-Sil 243LD, Hi-Sil 250, Ciptane I, and Hi-Sil HDP320G.

Bankruptcy Court Approves Chemtura Reorganization Plan

Filed under: General, Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 6:45 am

On October 21, 2010, Chemtura Corporation announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York had issued a decision confirming its Plan of Reorganization. The Plan will become effective after the Court enters a written order reflecting this ruling and other Plan conditions have been satisfied. Chemtura currently expects to emerge from Chapter 11 in the upcoming weeks, as soon as the Plan conditions are satisfied.

The full press release is here.

NHTSA, EPA Propose First Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks and Buses

Filed under: General — Notch @ 6:30 am

On October 25, the U.S. EPA and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. The comprehensive national program is projected to reduce GHG emissions by nearly 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program’s first five years.

The proposed standards will cover three categories of heavy trucks: combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans, and vocational vehicles. For combination tractors, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards that begin in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by 2018 model year. For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, the agencies are proposing separate gasoline and diesel truck standards which phase in starting in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 10 percent reduction for gasoline vehicles and 15 percent reduction for diesel vehicles by 2018 model year (12 and 17 percent respectively if accounting for air conditioning leakage). Lastly, for vocational vehicles, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards starting in the 2014 model year which would achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 2018 model year.

The EPA and NHTSA are providing a 60-day comment period that begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The proposal as well as information about how to submit comments is at: and

As part of the process of developing this proposed rulemaking, NHTSA has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its proposed fuel efficiency standards. The Draft EIS compares the environmental impacts of the agency’s proposal with those of a number of regulatory alternatives. Comments may be submitted on the Draft EIS through January 3, 2011, and information on the submission of comments for this document may be found at the NHTSA Web address listed above.

October 22, 2010

Evonik Announces Precipitated Silica Capacity Increase

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 5:02 pm

Evonik Industries announced today that it planned to increase its precipitated silica capacity at its existing plants by 25% through 2014, with a focus on its plants in Europe and Asia. The cost of the expansions is expected to be in the “mid double-digit million euro range” while total capacity expansion is expected to be in the “six-digit metric ton region.” In May 2010, Evonik announced a capacity expansion for precipitated silicas at its subsidiary INSILCO Ltd. in Gajraula, India.

According to the press release, these expansion plans back Evonik’s commitment to accompany its customers’ growth as a strategic partner. “Evonik is the market leader in precipitated silicas. The market is expected to grow substantially over the next few years. Through our capacity expansion, we plan to satisfy the increasing demand and to achieve further growth along with the market,” explains Thomas Hermann, head of Inorganic Materials, the business unit covering silicas and other specialty chemicals. The move also enables Evonik to continue ensuring the availability of its precipitated silicas in all regions.

The press release is here.

October 21, 2010

Rhodia Commissions Chinese Silica Plant

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 3:47 pm

Rhodia commissioned its new 72 KTPY high performance silicas unit in Qingdao, China on October 20, the company announced in a press release. The event also marked Rhodia’s 30th anniversary in China. The Asia-Pacific zone currently accounts for 28% of the Group’s sales and 21% of its workforce.

“China benefits from one of the highest potentials for economic growth. With 30 years’ experience in this market, an efficient industrial network and a dedicated research & development hub, Rhodia has all the key assets it needs to take full advantage of this source of new growth”, said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chairman and CEO of the Rhodia Group.

The Group’s activities in China are concentrated in three sectors: automotive, with silicas for tires, engineering plastics and catalysis technology; cosmetics and detergents, with specialty surfactants, a market segment where the Group’s front-ranking positions will be further strengthened by the acquisition of Feixang Chemicals; electronics, with rare earth-based formulations. The Group is also developing its expertise in China in the field of renewable sources of energy.

Rhodia operates 13 production sites in China with a total of 2,000 employees, as well as a worldwide R&D center in Shanghai employing 100 research scientists.

October 18, 2010

Columbian Chemicals Announces Carbon Black Price Increase

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 2:09 pm

Columbian Chemicals has announced that it will increase prices for all product sold in North America to rubber carbon black markets by 10-15%. The increase will go into effect on November 15, 2010. Price increases for customers with supply contracts will be implemented as agreements allow. Columbian cited “(y)ears of cumulative cost increases without commensurate pricing adjustments and the prospect of investment by carbon black producers to support customer demand” as factors driving the increase.

Here is the press release (PDF).

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