News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

October 25, 2011

Yokohama’s environmentally friendly BluEarth AE-01 tire receives Japanese Good Design Award

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 8:35 am

Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. announces that its new fuel-efficient tire for passenger cars, “BluEarth AE-01”, has received the Good Design Award. The Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization’s Good Design Award is the only program for the evaluation and encouragement of design in Japan. The “BluEarth AE-01”, released domestically in July, has achieved high ratings for rolling resistance and wet grip while improving ride comfort.

Lehigh Technologies, maker of sustainable rubber powders, expands into Brazil

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 8:20 am

Lehigh Technologies, manufacturer of sustainable, micronized rubber powders, has announced its expansion into Brazil with the appointment of a country manager for Brazil. Lehigh Technologies’ proprietary manufacturing process converts end-of-life tire and post-industrial rubber material into micron-scale sustainable powders that are readily integrated into existing formulations.  In addition to helping companies achieve sustainability goals, key performance attributes are improved and at a significant savings over the cost of virgin raw materials.

“Responsibility toward end-of-life tire collection is an important element in determining where Lehigh expands its footprint, indicating market interest in sustainability. “Brazil’s experience and history in establishing legislation and associations that support the industry of recycling end-of-life tires tells us that the market is interested in increasing its use of sustainable materials,” says Kedar Murthy, general manager and vice president of tire and industrial rubber. “Moreover, there is a sophisticated and diversified industrial base that embraces new technology.”

October 24, 2011

Rhodia Silica plans ribbon-cutting for Chicago Heights silica plant expansion

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 11:20 pm

Rhodia Silica plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new plant expansion at its precipitated silica plant in Chicago Heights, Illinois on November 9, 2011. The ceremony will be hosted by Rhodia Silica’s president, Tom Benner and will take place at the facility. The event will include a tour of the plant. The event is by invitation only.

The expansion added some 18,000 tonnes/year of new nameplate capacity to the Chicago Heights plant, which is one of Rhodia’s seven precipitated silica plants worldwide, including factories in France, Italy, Brazil, Venezuela, China, and South Korea. Rhodia’s plant in Collonges au Mont d’Or, France is also being expanded by a similar amount in 2012. In 2010, Rhodia brought a major new tire silicas plant on-stream in China.


October 21, 2011

Sibur and Sinopec plan two rubber joint ventures

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 9:13 am reports that Sinopec has entered into a memorandum of extended cooperation with the Russian company Sibur to form a joint venture to produce butadiene nitrile rubber in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and Shanghai, China and to form a polyisoprene rubber joint venture. Sibur will provide polymerization and finishing technology for the plants. The Krasnoyarsk plant’s butadiene nitrile rubber capacity will expand to 56,000 tonnes/year. The Shanghai facility will incease to a capacity of approximately 50,000 tonnes/year.

Cabot Corporation to increase Indonesian carbon black capacity

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:56 am

Indonesia Today reports that Boston-based Cabot Corporation, the global carbon black producer, is increasing the capacity of its carbon black manufacturing subsidiary in Merak, Banten province. The expansion will increase Cabot’s total carbon black manufacturing capacity in Indonesia by 50%.  The company has signed an agreement to purchase land adjacent to their Cilegon facility for the expansion. Further timing and investment details are not currently available.

VI International Conference: Rubber and Tires 2011 to be held in Moscow

Filed under: Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 8:29 am

The annual international  Conference, Rubber and Tires 2011, will be held November 22, 2011 at the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel in Moscow.

The conference provides a networking platform for the rubber, tire, and rubber products industries. Participants include Continental, ExxonMobil Chemical, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), LANXESS, Michelin, Nizhnekamskneftekhim, Nizhnekamskshina (TATNEFT), Nokian Tyres, Nynas, OrgChem, RENAULT Group, SIBUR, SYNTHOS SA, Toyo Tires, SIBUR – Russian Tires, among others.

October 11, 2011

Continental Tires to build new tire plant in South Carolina

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 7:31 am

Continental Tires the Americas LLC has announced plans to build a green field tire plant in Sumter, South Carolina. The capacity after completion of the first construction phase in 2017 will be 5 million passsenger and light truck tires. Capacity after the second phase in 2021 is planned for 8 million units per year. The initial phase of the project will create more than 1600 jobs and involves an investment of $500+ million.

October 10, 2011

Tokuyama to Exit Silica Business

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 9:34 am

On Friday, October 7, Tokuyama Corporation announced that it would exit the precipitated silica business by February 29, 2012. However, Tokuyama’s subsidiary, Tokuyama Siam Silica Co., Ltd., and its affiliated company, Oriental Silicas Corporation, will continue to produce and sell precipitated silica.

The press release is presented in its entirety below.

Tokuyama Corporation Withdraws from TOKUSIL and FINESIL Business

Tokuyama Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “Tokuyama” or “the Company”, Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President: Kazuhisa Kogo) has decided to withdraw from its TOKUSIL and FINESIL (precipitated silica) business as of February 29, 2012.

In March 2010, Tokuyama discontinued production of its TOKUSIL and FINESIL brands of precipitated silica at the Tokuyama Factory. To date, the Company has been selling TOKUSIL and FINESIL by receiving OEM supplies of these products from its subsidiary, Tokuyama Siam Silica Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “TSSC”), and its affiliated company, Oriental Silicas Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “OSC”).

The operating environment surrounding the TOKUSIL and FINESIL business remains severe due to soaring raw material and fuel prices and intensified competition caused by the entry of new competitors into this market. Under such circumstances, lack of prospects for improving the profitability of TOKUSIL and FINESIL in order to continue this business led the Company to decide to withdraw from the business.

From March 1, 2012, TSSC and OSC are to manufacture and sell TOKUSIL and FINESIL.

October 6, 2011

MSNBC: Renewable Rubber Highlights New Economy

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 11:04 am

MSNBC reports that

In the world of synthetic biology, microbes engineered to produce medicines and biofuels generate plenty of buzz, but the real money-making opportunity may lie in less sexy products such as tires.

That’s the bet California-based synthetic chemical firm Amyris and the Paris-based Michelin tire company are making with the recent announcement of a new partnership to develop and commercialize isoprene, the chemical building block of synthetic rubber.

While rubber is found in nature, isoprene is one of the many products made with chemicals derived from oil.

“Eighty-five percent of the volume of a barrel of oil is used to make fuel,” notes Nature News, “but the chemicals that come from the remaining 15 percent account for 85 percent of the barrel’s monetary value.”

The Amyris/Michelin partnership expects their isoprene to hit the market in 2015 for use in tires and other specialty chemical applications such as adhesives, coatings and sealants.

It’s not too late to register for the 5th CEE Rubber Rubber and Tire Markets conference in Vienna

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 10:50 am

A relay from Ms. Carmen Beh, Marketing Executive, CMT – Centre for Management Technology:

Have you registered for the 5th CEE Rubber and Tire Markets conference to be held on the 20th and 21st of October in Vienna yet? Do not delay, or you’ll miss the opportunity to interact with top industry experts as they debate on the current trends and outlook of the rubber & tire markets.

Among them, is a newly acquired speaker, Mr. Botond Szalma, Sales Account Manager, (Tires & Elastomer Reinforcements) from Teijin Aramid BV. Mr. Szalma will share his views on the rising rubber costs, sustainability, agricultural tires and OTR markets via his topic “On theRoad for New Opportunities Off Road: Reinforcing OTR Tires with Light Weight/High Tenacity Twaron p-aramid.”

Besides, at this 1.5 day event, you’ll be assured of an invaluable networking platform with many industry participants already signed up to attend this event. Just look at the pie chart below and see who you’ll meet at the conference!

Act now. The event is less than a month away, so submit your online registrations now or write to Ms. Carmen at for further assistance.

Here’s to the success of the 5th CEE Rubber and Tire Marketsconference!

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