News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

February 13, 2013

Solvay to build new silica plant in Poland

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 3:02 pm

Solvay today announced it will invest €75 million to build a new 85,000 ton per year Highly Dispersible Silica (HDS) plant in Wloclawek Poland. Combined with a further capacity expansion at its site in Qingdao (China), these two investments will increase Solvay’s global highly dispersible silica production capacity by an additional 30%. Located in central Poland, close to key energy distribution and the new Warsaw-Gdansk highway, the new plant will offer logistical benefits to customers in Eastern Europe and Russia, according to a company press release. The site is a designated Special Economic Zone (SEZ) integrated within the industrial site of Anwil, a subsidiary of the Polish refining and energy company PKN Orlen. The completion is expected in the third quarter of 2014.

Among other HDS products, the new plant will produce Zeosil® PREMIUM®, Solvay’s latest generation of highly dispersible silica, used by tire manufacturers in the production of energy-saving tires. According to Solvay, tire labelling regulation has led to a four-fold increase in Zeosil® PREMIUM® adoption over the past year, and the company expects this strong growth to continue.

Solvay also plans to add production capacity to its Qingdao plant (China) which started-up in 2010. This expansion is already underway and scheduled for completion by the end of 2013. It will elevate the capacity of the site to 112,000 tons per year.

These investments follow volume expansions in France (2012), the US (2011), and a new plant in Qingdao, China (2010). Upon the completion of these projects, Solvay’s worldwide highly dispersible silica annual production capacity will stand close to 500,000 tons, doubling from pre-2010 levels.

Here is the press release.

February 4, 2013

This week at Tire Tech Expo in Cologne

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tires — Notch @ 7:08 pm

Tire Technology Expo 2013 is being held this week (Feb 5-7) in Cologne. This really is one of the best conferences on the tire industry out there, with papers, training classes, and a huge trade show all rolled into one.

Notch Consulting will be moderating an all-day session on Wednesday (Feb 9) entitled “Raw Materials: Is There Enough and Will They Be Green.” It will feature 16 presentations related to this topic from people at the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries, Cabot, Cray Valley, Eastman Chemical, Iqesil, Lanxess, PPG Industries, Rhein Chemie Rheinau, Schill + Seilacher, and Umicore Specialty Materials. Unfortunately, my own paper was left off the program, but I will be presenting at 12:40 and my paper is entitled “Tire Industry Raw Materials Trends: Focus on Reinforcing Fillers.” The paper presents an overview of carbon black and precipitated silica, including current demand, future prospects, and leading suppliers. Also, I present a cost comparison of the two filler systems in passenger tire treads, which is their most intense area of competition, and a forecast for how much market share is likely to shift from carbon black to silica.

Day 2, Session 3 begins at 9:00 and concludes at 17:10 and will be held in Europasaal (L1 – Purple).

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