News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

October 23, 2016

Cabot expanding capacity for masterbatch and conductive compounds in Belgium

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 2:17 pm

On October 20, Cabot Corporation announced plans to increase capacity for plastic formulations for conductive compounds and masterbatches for engineering thermoplastic applications at its facility in Pepinster, Belgium. The investment will occur within Cabot’s Specialty Compounds business and the new capacity will focus on products used in automotive, electronics, and industrial safety applications. The company did not announce how much capacity would be added or a timeline for the investment.

October 11, 2016

Orion converting line to specialty blacks in Korea, raising carbon black prices

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 2:55 pm

Late last week, Orion Engineered Carbons announced two actions regarding their business in Korea. In the first, Orion will convert a tire grade carbon black line at its plant in Yeosu to produce specialty and technical grades instead of tire grades. The action will impact 20,000 tons of carbon black. The conversion project will being in 4Q 2016 and is expected to be completed by July 2017.

“This line conversion in Yeosu is among the next steps in Orion Engineered Carbons’ ongoing transition to higher value added products for specialty and technically demanding rubber applications,” said Jack Clem, Orion’s Chief Executive Officer. “This project, along with our previously announced plans to expand the specialty and technical grade mix at our Qingdao, China plant, will continue our penetration of the rapidly growing North and Southeast Asian markets, as well as providing support for demand from the rest of the world.”

Secondly, Orion announced that it will implement a base price increase of up to 9% on all Rubber Black grades produced in South Korea and sold in the Asia/Pacific market. The increase will begin on December 1, 2016. Orion cites tightening environmental laws and regulations, which the company says are adding substantial amounts to its operating cost base, as are annual increases in labor costs. These conditions are being exacerbated by unfavorable developments in the feedstock market; over the last months Orion reports that it has had to pay significantly more for high quality carbon black oil due to a very tight Korean fuel oil market. The price increases have occurred independently from the underlying movements of the Singapore fuel oil index, which is used as the reference for price adjustments related to oil price changes that Orion negotiates with its Korean customers on a regular basis.

This discrepancy mirrors similar recent issues in both Europe and the United States wherein actual feedstock costs have differed significantly from the index grades used to calculate feedstock costs for pass-through.

Here are the press releases:


Price increase


October 7, 2016

Cancarb adds distributor in Korea

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 2:22 pm

This week Cancarb Limited announced the appointment of Kangshin Industrial Co., Ltd. as Cancarb’s authorized distributor for Thermax thermal black in South Korea as of January 1, 2017. Cancarb is the world’s leading producer of thermal black and is a subsidiary of Tokai Carbon.

Here is the press release.


Monolith establishing HQ in Lincoln, Nebraska

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 2:17 pm

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Monolith Materials has announced plans to establish a manufacturing headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska. Monolith is a California-based startup that plans to build a new $50M carbon black plant in Hallam, NE in cooperation with Nebraska Public Power. The new plant will produce carbon black from natural gas and provide by-product hydrogen as fuel for a converted coal-based burner at the site. Phase 1 of the plant recently broke ground and startup is expected by mid 2018.

In the original plan, only the plant would be located in Nebraska, but Monolith recently announced plans to establish a manufacturing headquarter in downtown Lincoln by November 1. The company plans to hire 50 people for the first phase, adding another 50-100 employees for the second phase of the project.

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