News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

May 28, 2018

Saudi NTC to work with Samsung on $1.6 billion tire project

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 5:03 pm

Saudi Arabian National Tire Co. (NTC) has awarded a contract to South Korea’s Samsung Engineering for the engineering, procurement, and construction of its planned $1.6 billion tire plant in Saudi Arabia.

NTC plans to build the factory in Jubail, an industrial city in the eastern part of the kingdom on the Persian Gulf. Production is expected to start by year-end 2020. The plant will be rated at 20 million units a year capacity, with a staff of about 4,000 employees.

NTC is an initiative of Fahad Bin Abdul-Rahman Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family.

Triangle clears government hurdles for funding of new U.S. tire plants

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 3:56 pm

China’s Triangle Group Co. Ltd. is one step closer to breaking ground on its passenger and light truck tire factory in Edgecombe County, east of Rocky Mount, N.C.

The government in China signed off on agreements and approvals to fund the first phase of the $580 million project, a passenger and light truck tire plant with capacity for 6 million tires annually, according to Manny Cicero, CEO of Triangle Tire USA, and Marketing Director Mary Ma. All that remains is the securing of several site permits, including one for air quality, before construction can commence, they said in an interview at the company’s office in Franklin on May 22.

Triangle announced late last year that it plans to build two tire plants in the U.S. on a 1,449-acre plot of land in Edgecombe County. Phase one will be a passenger and light truck tire plant. Groundbreaking for the second plant, a 1 million tire capacity truck and bus tire facility, will begin six months after the start of construction on the first plant. The factories will share a rubber mixing facility located between them, Cicero said.

The target date for phase one completion is April 2020.

Referenced article found here.

May 24, 2018

Enviro announces largest order from international tire company

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tire Recycling — Notch @ 11:18 am

Enviro has received a follow-up order on EnviroCB from an international tire manufacturer. The order is Enviro’s single largest so far, valued at over 100,000 SEK. Revenues are expected in Q2 2018.

The international tire manufacturer made the first order at the beginning of the year after thorough material tests. The delivered EnviroCB will be used for solid tires manufactured in Sri Lanka.

“Receiving a follow-up order of a much larger volume demonstrates both the quality of material and the market’s growing need for reclaimed carbon black. This is one of several major solid tire manufacturers where we see growing interest, in addition to the several tire manufacturers we have received positive feedback from,” says Thomas Sörensson, CEO of Enviro.

May 21, 2018

Cabot announces 310 KT in carbon black expansions

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:20 am
Cabot Corporation today announced plans to add 310,000 tons of new carbon black capacity by 2021. The largest component of the plan involves adding 160,000 tons at Cabot’s facility in Cilegon, Indonesia. Cabot anticipates that product from this expansion will be available for sale starting in late 2020 or early 2021.

In addition to the expansion at Cilegon, Cabot is investing approximately $50 million in debottlenecking projects and operational improvements across 18 of its carbon black facilities. This program will provide an additional 150,000 metric tons of increased carbon black capacity which will be available for tire, industrial rubber and specialty carbon customers. To date, Cabot has completed approximately one-third of this capacity expansion, with full completion expected by 2021. These investments will increase Cabot’s global carbon black capacity to approximately 2.5 million metric tons.


May 18, 2018

Michelin introduces Tweel for ultra-terrain vehicles

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 12:51 pm

Rubber & Plastics News reports that Michelin North America Inc. has developed a 26-inch version of its non-pneumatic Tweel tire/wheel hybrid for use on ultra-terrain vehicles. Michelin Tweel Technologies, an MNA division, says the X Tweel UTV is intended for use in debris-laden areas including construction, agriculture, mining, emergency response and park sites. The X Tweel UTV was originally designed for light-tactical vehicles used in military operations. The wheel is a single unit that replaces the vehicles’ pneumatic tire/wheel/valve assemblies, Michelin said. The Tweel unit also eliminates the need to carry spare tires, tools or repair kits.

I spotted these tires “in the field” a few weeks ago when I was watching the season 2 premier of HBO’s Westworld. I took these screenshots. (Yes, I watch sci-fi shows for the tires — maybe I’ve been doing this job too long.)

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 11.45.14 PM









Fig 1. Screenshot from Westworld, season 2, episode 1, “Journey into Night,” written by Lisa Joy & Roberto Patino, directed by Richard J. Lewis, airdate April 22, 2018, Home Box Office, Inc.

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 11.45.34 PM
Fig 2. Screenshot (detail) from Westworld, season 2, episode 1, “Journey into Night,” written by Lisa Joy & Roberto Patino, directed by Richard J. Lewis, airdate April 22, 2018, Home Box Office, Inc.

May 14, 2018

CSRC plans to spin off carbon black unit, expand capacity in India

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 5:00 am

Taipei Times reports that China Synthetic Rubber Corp, the world’s fifth-largest carbon black supplier and the only producer in Taiwan, plans to spin off its carbon black and biotech units, as the 45-year-old company considers transforming into a holding firm.

The planned spin-off, intended to improve the company’s operating efficiency and raise its competitiveness, is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 30, CSRC said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Thursday last week.

CSRC, a major subsidiary of the nation’s largest cement maker, Taiwan Cement Corp (台灣水泥), said it would remain listed on the local bourse after the move and would rename itself International CSRC Investment Holdings Co Ltd (國際中橡投資控股).

The existing shareholders’ interests would not be affected by the restructuring, it added.

However, the plan still needs to be approved by shareholders at an annual meeting on June 26, the filing said.

CSRC also issued a separate filing last week with the Taiwan Stock Exchange that announced a plan to raise capital through the issuance of 180 million new shares in the near term to fund investments in India and the US.

CSRC said it plans to inject US$155 million into Continental Carbon India Ltd, which would be used to expand manufacturing capacity of carbon black at the unit’s plants in India’s Gujarat State.

As for the US investment, CSRC proposed a capital injection of US$52 million to Continental Carbon Co, headquartered in Houston, Texas, to replenish its operating capital, the filing showed.

May 6, 2018

PCBL chooses Tamil Nadu for new carbon black plant

Filed under: Carbon Black, Uncategorized — Notch @ 10:30 pm

Phillips Carbon Black Ltd., India’s largest carbon black producer, plans to build a new 150,000 tons/year carbon black plant at Ennore, Tamil Nadu, India. PCBL announced the new plant late last year but was deciding between two locations in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, both in southeastern India. The new factory is budgeted at Rs 600 crore. PCBL is also spending Rs 300 crore to debottleneck its four existing plants in Durgapur (West Bengal), Mundra (Gujarat), Kochi (Kerala), and Palej (Gujarat). Altogether, the projects will raise PCBL’s capacity to 700,000 tons/year by December 2020.

May 4, 2018

Bridgestone on megatrends in tire industry

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 7:20 am

In an interview with JustAuto, Laurent Dartoux, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Bridgestone EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa}, forecasts megatrends and how they will shape tomorrow’s tires. He sees the tire industry responding to the trends affecting the entire auto industry: sustainability, population growth, and urbanization, “They are rapidly forcing automotive OEMs, technology companies, and in fact any company connected with the industry, to reimagine the future.”

“For the automotive industry, the fundamental need is for people to live their lives in a mobile way, getting from A to B when they need. These megatrends are creating obstacles for the everyday driver – and passenger – this is where CASE comes in with vehicles becoming more and more connected, autonomous, shared and electric. We’re not talking about all of these coming into play immediately. It will be a gradual evolution, largely enabled by digitization.

Tires are an important part of this evolution and will increasingly be connected to the car. This will unlock previously untapped data, allowing us to learn and evolve as the car is driven and by then, support at best each driver on his journey. The tire industry will also become broader, with products being designed for different usage types, such as autonomous or electric vehicles. We are now selling more than tires but, increasingly, we’ll be offering more and more services.”

Dartoux sees tires changing considerably over the next 10 years in response to this exponential change in the auto industry.

“For example, electric vehicle tires have different needs to combustion engine cars because, although grip remains important, too much grip may lead to overconsumption of the battery. New polymers will play an important role to help us enhance wear for drivers whilst achieving the careful balance of rolling resistance to support Electric Vehicle technology.”

Read the full interview here.

May 2, 2018

Pirelli to revamp organizational structure

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 12:35 pm

At the Pirelli Board of Directors meeting scheduled for 14 May 2018, Marco Tronchetti Provera will present to board members the tire maker’s proposal for developing an organization to support the company’s Integrated Business Model. This proposed organization, which the executive vice-chairman and chief executive officer has already shared with the chairman of the board, involves a new distribution of responsibility within the company.

Under the new organization, Andrea Casaluci will become head of the newly-constituted General Management Operations organization. Casaluci is currently the executive vice-president in charge of Original Equipment for the Europe region, and the Prestige business unit. This organization will oversee all of Pirelli’s regional operations as well as its Commercial Original Equipment, Commercial Replacement, Moto, Velo and Motorsport, Prestige, Strategic Marketing as well as the Manufacturing, Purchasing and Supply organizational units.

Maurizio Boiocchi will take responsibility for the Technology organization, which will oversee the Technology & Quality and Cyber & Innovation functions. Boiocchi will also continue to head technical activities and F1 as part of his Motorsport commitments.

A third function, Digital, will also be proposed.

Read the full press release here.

Production ceases at Michelin plant in Northern Ireland

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 10:43 am

Michelin has ceased production at its 49-year-old truck tire plant in Ballymena, ahead of the factory’s scheduled closing. In November 2015, Michelin announced operation at the site would come to an end in April of this year due to rising energy costs and falling demand for truck tires in Europe.

The factory, which opened in 1969, is to be turned into an enterprise park comprising manufacturing, office and warehouse space, according to local media reports confirmed by Michelin.

The closing of the Ballymena plant is part of a wider restructuring of Michelin’s operations in the U.K. on growth segments of the passenger car and light truck tire and retread markets, the company said.

The restructuring plan includes an investment of more than $100 million at a plant in Dundee, Scotland to increase passenger and light truck tire capacity by 30 percent by 2020 and $25 million in its Stoke-on-Trent, England, tire and retread plant.

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