News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

December 23, 2013

RMA expects US tire shipments to rise 4% in 2013

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 6:25 am

Last week, the Rubber Manufacturers Association updated its tire shipment data for 2013. Under the new forecast, US tire shipments are expected to increase more than 4% in 2013 to 297 million, an increase of 12 million units compared with 2012. This represents a significant improvement over previous forecasts, particularly for replacement tires, where demand benefited from an increase in miles driven. However shipments are expected to slow in 2014: the RMA expects demand for 302 million total tire shipments, up less than 2% from 2013. A declining unemployment rate, a rebound in housing, increases in vehicle sales and vehicle miles traveled, as well as other macroeconomic factors are expected to account for the 2014 increase.

Details by segment available here.

Michelin inaugurates two new tire retreading plants in India

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 6:20 am

Last week, Michelin inaugurated two new Michelin-certified Recamic tyre retreading facilities in Chennai and Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu region. The plants will retread radial truck and bus customers in the region and were built in collaboration with TVS Tread, the retreading arm of TVS Group.

Bridgestone expanding capacity in Brazil

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 6:10 am

Bridgestone’s Brazilian unit, Bridgestone do Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda., will invest US$63 million to expand capacity for passenger car radial tires at its plant in Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil. The project will increase capacity by roughly 25 percent to more than 10,000 tires/day by May 2015. The expansion will focus on ultrahigh performance tires and light truck/SUV tires for both OEM and replacement markets.

This project is in addition to an expansion project on which Bridgestone Brazil broke ground last October. In that project, Bridgestone invest US$14 million to expand capacity for agricultural tires at Santo André (SP), Brazil by July 2015. The project will double capacity to 60 tires/day. With this investment, Bridgestone will add six new AGR tires in its production mix.

LANXESS raises prices for rubber chemicals

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 6:05 am

LANXESS has announced a price increase for its rubber chemicals effective 1 January 2014. The company said in a press release that the increases are required to offset raw material cost increases. The price increase includes all product lines in the Rubber Chemicals business unit, including Vulkanox antidegradants, Vulkacit accelerators, as well as specialty chemicals such as bonding agents (Cohedur), retarders (Vulkalent), plasticisers (Vulkanol) and DBD based peptisers (Renacit). The increase will range from €0.05/kg to €0.30/kg depending on the product and region. These products are primarily used in the manufacture of tires, hoses, profiles, and other rubber items. The Rubber Chemicals business unit is part of LANXESS’ Performance Chemicals segment, which recorded sales of €2.2bn in fiscal 2012.

Michelin starts up new OTR tire plant in South Carolina

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 6:00 am

This month, Michelin North America commissioned production at its new plant for giant off-road tires in Anderson, South Carolina. The plant, called US10, cost $750 million and took about 17 months to build, the fastest greenfield construction project in Michelin’s history. The plant will begin commercial production in January 2014 for sale by mid-2014. The facility will build giant OTR tires up to 63 inches in diameter, mainly for the mining industry. Output will serve both domestic and export customers. The new plant is located adjacent to Michelin’s existing rubber compounding plant in Starr, South Carolina. Michelin operates six other earthmover tire plants globally: Waterville, Nova Scotia; Campo Grande, Brazil; Le Puy and Montceau-les-Mines, France; Vitoria, Spain; and Zalau, Romania.

December 10, 2013

Sid Richardson opens lab and office suite at Texas carbon black plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:37 pm

This week, Sid Richardson Carbon Co. announced it is opening two new facilities at its carbon black plant in Borger, Texas. The first is a new laboratory that will house all the plant’s testing capabilities. The second facility is a new office suite that will consolidate the plant’s Operations, Maintenance, and Engineering staffs. Both of these facilities will open this month. Sid Richardson operates three carbon black plants in the United States, located in Borger and Big Spring, Texas and Addis, Louisiana. Sid Richardson has invested more than $90 million in capital expenditures at the Borger plant since 2000.

Here is the press release

OSC completes new silicate furnace in Taiwan

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 11:27 pm

Oriental Silicas Corporation (Taipei, Taiwan) today dedicated a new silicate furnace in Taiwan. The unit produces high quality silicate for use in the production of precipitated silica, using high purity silica sand from Australia and natural soda ash by ANSAC (American natural soda ash Corporation). The OXY-fired melting furnace was designed by Asahi Japan and has a capacity of 250 MT/day. Initial capacity is 100,000 MT/year, with an expansion expected in 2015. Output from the unit will be used internally by OSC in the production of precipitated silica and also sold for the production of silica sol, silica gel, etc. The silicate furnace is located in the Taiching Harbor District of Taiwan, about 40 kilometers from OSC’s silica plant in Sanyi.

December 4, 2013

Orion to shut down carbon black plant in Portugal

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:36 pm

Orion Engineered Carbons made the following announcement in its third quarter 2013 unaudited financial statements:

Following an intensive review of its European carbon black operations, Orion Engineered Carbons GmbH will cease production at its Sines, Portugal facility by the end of 2013 affecting immediately about 36 of the 40 positions at the plant. This shutdown will take place while investments continue to be made in the company’s other carbon black plants.

December 3, 2013

Yokohama and Kumho sign MOU for strategic alliance

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 7:00 am

On November 29, Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. and Kumho Tire Co. Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding to start discussions to share research and development efforts, and to enter into a capital alliance through cross-shareholdings. According to Yokohama, the agreement will increase competitiveness and enhance their future growth potential in the global tire market by making more effective use of research efforts. Yokohama Rubber and Kumho plan to work out the details of the alliance as soon as possible, including methods for obtaining each other’s shares, the size of shareholdings, and the timing of acquisition.

December 2, 2013

Vanderbilt consolidates chemical production at Kentucky plant

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 3:40 pm

Vanderbilt Chemicals, L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of R.T. Vanderbilt Holding Co. Inc., has announced plans to consolidate its commercial production of chemicals to its newly upgraded plant in Murray, Kentucky. Announced earlier this year, the project is part of a $30M expansion of the company’s Murray plant that will increase capacity by 50% from its current level of 12,500 tonnes per year. Four of the nine production lines at the plant are now automated. As part of the expansion, Vanderbilt will transfer its displaced volume from its chemicals plant in Bethel, Connecticut to Murray by the end of 2014. This will include production of specialty chemical lubricant additives for oils, fluids and greases in addition to additives for rubber and plastics, paints and coatings. The company will continue to maintain a pilot plant and research and development laboratory in Bethel to support the chemicals business.

As of January 1, 2013, R.T. Vanderbilt Holding Company, Inc. reorganized its North American operations under three subsidiaries: Vanderbilt Chemicals LLC (chemicals for the Rubber, Plastics, and Petroleum markets); Vanderbilt Minerals LLC (industrial and specialty minerals for the Life Sciences, Coatings, Ceramics, and Agricultural markets); and Vanderbilt Global Services LLC (support services).

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