News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

September 30, 2014

Sumitomo’s new Enasave Next tire has 50% lower rolling resistance

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 6:46 am

In September, Sumitomo Rubber Industries launched a new flagship product for its Dunlop-brand Enasave series of fuel-efficient tires. The new tire, which is currently offered only in Japan, achieved an ‘AAA-a’ rank under the Japanese tire labeling program, the highest rating possible for rolling resistance and wet grip. Sumitomo says the new tire has 50% lower rolling resistance than the standard Japanese replacement market Dunlop tire that the company introduced in 2008, the year it set out to achieve this goal. Sumitomo met another of its long term goals in November 2013, when it introduced the Dunlop Enasave 100, an entirely fossil-free tire, at the Tokyo Motor Show.

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Goodyear plans to produce tires using silica produced from rice hull ash

Filed under: Carbon Black, Silica, Tires — Notch @ 6:30 am

According to Rubber News, Goodyear plans to produce plans to use silica derived from rice husk ash to produce low rolling resistance tires. The ash is a waste-product from the burning of rice husks to produce electricity. Goodyear reportedly has tested silica derived from rice husk ash over the past two years at its Innovation Center in Akron and found that the material’s effect on tire performance was “equal to traditional sources.” Goodyear is reportedly in the process of negotiating with potential suppliers to purchase silica produced from rice hull ash.

“The use of rice husk ash will provide Goodyear an alternative source of silica while helping reduce the amount of rice husk waste being landfilled,” said Joseph Zekoski, interim chief technical officer. “This illustrates Goodyear’s commitment to innovation and to the environment.”

Last year, Pirelli announced that it was planning to use rice hull ash silica in its tires, while Bridgestone has committed to begin production of plant-derived tires by 2020.

Dunlop Aircraft Tyres to open first retread facility in the US

Filed under: Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 6:10 am

Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, a UK-based aircraft manufacturer and retreader, has announced plans to establish its first retreading facility in the United States. The facility will focus on retreading popular narrow and wide-bodied jet airliners and military aircraft, and will also distribute new aircraft tires. Until now, Dunlop has been supported by independent distribution and retreading partners in the Americas who distribute new tires and retread the company’s tire casings for regional turboprops and jets. According to the company, by offering local retreading within the region, Dunlop can bring increased choice to airlines, military aircraft operators and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities. Dunlop is currently evaluating a number of potential sites in the South East of the USA and is planning to open the facility in early 2016. In 2009, Dunlop Aircraft Tyres opened a similar tyre distribution and retreading facility in China. It now employs nearly 60 people and supports airlines across Asia Pacific.

September 22, 2014

Lanxess keeping rubber chemicals businesses

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 6:30 am

Following a strategic review that began in September 2013, Lanxess has decided to retain its antioxidant and accelerators businesses after failing to receive an attractive offer. The two business lines will be merged into the Advanced Industrial Intermediates business unit. The restructuring is part of a group-wide realignment (“Let’s Lanxess Again”) that will reduce the company’s 14 business units down to 10 in 2015.

“We are certain that the decision to take forward rubber chemical operations inside Lanxess is the best option for long-term commercial success. Consolidating the business areas will generate synergies that will help us further improve our competitiveness,” said Hubert Fink, head of the Advanced Industrial Intermediates business unit.

September 11, 2014

Evonik completes silica expansion in US

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 4:27 pm

On September 9, Evonik Corporation opened its new 20,000 metric ton expansion at its precipitated silica plant in Chester, Pennsylvania. The project is part of a multi-year program whereby Evonik will increase its global silica capacity by 30%, including projects in Europe, Asia, Brazil, and the US. The new capacity will be targeted at the tire, food, animal feed, and other industries.

September 8, 2014

Nigerian refinery resuming carbon black production

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:05 am

Notch Consulting has received word that the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), a unit of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has resumed limited production of carbon black at a production unit located at its refinery in Warri, Nigeria. This carbon black plant has been shut down in recent years and operated sporadically for at least a decade. Notch has its nameplate capacity listed at 18,000 tonnes per year. In addition to the carbon black unit, the entire Warri refinery has operated erratically in recent years due to financial problems, lack of proper maintenance, and persistent attacks on pipelines by oil thieves. According to this article from August, the refinery saw its supply of crude oil cut off in August for unexplained reasons.

A source that pleaded anonymity told LEADERSHIP Friday, “PPMC [Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, another subsidiary of NNPC] has cut off crude oil supply to Warri Refinery in the past two weeks. We don’t know the reason for the action from official quarters but information going round indicated that the order came from the above. The report available to the workers showed that the authorities in Abuja asked the PPMC to stop further supply of crude oil to WRPC because the plant is operating at a loss.

A local source told Notch that the refinery was shut down due to a leak in a production line, and that repairs were being initiated. According to this source, the refinery is expected to begin production again in November, at which time the carbon black plant will be restarted with output of about 1,000 tonnes per month of N330 grade.

Carbon black from the unit is being marketed by a company called Intercity Petroleum. Here is a spec sheet on the product. Interested parties should contact the seller directly at worldclassprints@gmail.com.

Evonik expanding silica capacity in Japan

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 6:00 am

On Friday, Evonik Industries announced plans to expand its capacity for specialty silicas in Ako, Japan, where the company operates through a joint venture, DSL Japan Co. Ltd. Evonik holds 51% of the venture, with Japan’s Shionogi & Co. Ltd. holding the remainder. The expansion project is budgeted in the “single-digit million euro range” and is scheduled to become operational in 2015. The company did not announce a specific capacity for the plant or the expansion, but the project will increase capacity for SIPERNAT brand silicas used in batteries, silicones, engineered rubber goods, and coatings. This project is one part of a global expansion plan for silica that Evonik has been implementing for several years, including a 30% increase in global capacity from 2010 to 2014, according to the company. Evonik is expanding silica capacity at a plant in Chester, PA in 2014, and a new plant in Brazil is scheduled for start-up in 2016. Evonik’s global capacity for precipitated silica, fumed silica, and matting agents was 550,000 metric tons in 2014.

Here is the full press release.

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