News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

December 21, 2012

Birla Tyres idles Indian tire plant due to weak demand for four-wheeler tires

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 3:07 am

European Rubber Journal reports that Birla Tyres, a unit of the BK Birla Group company Kesoram Industries, has idled its plant in Odisha temporarily for about about two weeks due to poor market conditions, a company official told the Indo Asian News Service (IANS). The factory at Balasore will remain closed until December 31 because of excess stocks of four-wheeler tires.

RMA considers lawsuit over new EPA air quality standards

Filed under: Carbon Black, General — Notch @ 3:01 am

Rubber News has rounded up industry reaction to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new national air quality standard for fine particulates under the Clean Air Act, which were announced on December 14. The new standard sets the annual standard for fine particulates, including soot, to 12 micrograms per cubic meter. The existing daily standards for both fine and coarse particulates remain the same, according to the EPA.

According to Rubber News, the Rubber Manufacturers Association and other manufacturing associations are considering their options in the wake of the announcement, including a possible lawsuit.

The RMA, however, has significant concerns about the standard, according to an association spokesman.

“The threshold the EPA selection was at the lower end of the expected size,” the spokesman said. “We also have a number of questions about the methodologies the EPA used to determine which counties would be non-attainment areas.”

The RMA is consulting its members on the potential effects of the new standard, after which it will formulate its response. The National Association of Manufacturers, which had championed keeping the annual standard for fine particulates at the former level of 15 micrograms per cubic meter, also has criticized the new standard.

Nokian announces cutbacks for Finnish tire plant

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 2:50 am

On December 17, Nokian Tyres announced temporary and permanent layoffs for its Finnish factory after concluding statutory negotiations at the plant. Improving productivity and adjusting production will be executed mainly with temporary lay-offs; in addition 28 production workers and officials will be laid off permanently. Car tire production will be cut through layoffs by no more than 42 production days in 2013. Heavy tire production will be adjusted accordingly by decreasing production volumes and cutting production days. Nokian’s Finnish factory has 600 workers and staff in consumer tire production, and 260 workers in Nokian Heavy Tyres operations.

Evonik to expand precipitated silica capacity in the US

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 2:35 am

On December 20, Evonik Industries announced plans to increase its annual production capacity for precipitated silica at Chester, PA by around 20,000 metric tons. The new facility, which received an investment in the lower double-digit Euros range, is scheduled to become operational in 2014. The project is part of a larger program whereby Evonik will expand its global silica capacities by about thirty percent by 2014 (relative to 2010 capacity). The program also has included projects in Europe and Asia. Evonik pointed to new demand for precipitated silica in fuel-efficient tires as a driving factor in the expansion.

Evonik produces precipitated silicas at ten sites in nine countries. In addition to precipitated silicas used as stabilizing fillers for fuel-efficient tires, precipitated silica is also used as a carrier and anti-caking agent in the feed and food industry and as an additive in paints and coatings. Evonik also produces silanes used as coupling agents for silica in fuel-efficient tires, and is the only producer of both components of this filler system. Evonik also produces fumed silicas for use in silicone rubber, coatings, adhesives, and sealants. Overall, the global annual production capacity of Evonik for precipitated and fumed silicas as well as matting agents reaches 500,000 metric tons.

Here is the press release.

December 19, 2012

RMA: No Growth for US Tire Shipments in 2012

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 2:28 pm

Yesterday, the Rubber Manufacturers Association announced that it expects tire shipments in the United States to remain unchanged in 2012 at 284 million units, as an increase in OE shipments offset a decrease in replacement shipments. The lack of overall growth can primarily be attributed to continued economic sluggishness. However, an increase in vehicle miles traveled and anticipated economic growth should result in a nearly 2 percent increase in 2013, or approximately 6 million units to 290 million total units.

Greater detail by segment is available here.

December 10, 2012

Notch updates Carbon Black Quarterly Newsletter

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 7:00 am

Notch Consulting has published the latest issue of the Carbon Black Quarterly Newsletter, a quarterly report on the $14 billion carbon black industry. The 4Q 2012 issue is 29 pages with 13 tables detailing carbon black demand by region and market, current pricing by grade and region (US, Brazil, EU, China), and recent and proposed capacity expansion projects. The current issue focuses on supply and demand issues, and presents detailed data by region and country. As always, the PDF report is accompanied by a separate Excel spreadsheet providing extensive supplemental data. After seeing strong growth in 2010 and 2011 as the market recovered from the recession, the carbon black industry is experiencing challenging conditions in 2012, especially in North America and the European Union, where year-on-year volumes are forecast to decline. Asia is seeing good demand growth, but many producers outside China and seeing weaker pricing and pinched volumes as China continues to increase its exports (a function of excess capacity and lower feedstock costs).

Here is an overview of the Carbon Black Quarterly Newsletter. To order the report, contact Notch Consulting Group (information in sidebar to right).

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