News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

June 27, 2018

Game Changing Technology: The tires of tomorrow

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 11:30 am

How does the tire industry perceive the tire of tomorrow? What are the game-changing aspects of tire design? Pneumatic vs. non-pneumatic? Trends in materials development? And weight? For answers, Rubber & Plastics News surveyed several major tire makers, including Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Goodyear, Hankook Tire USA, Michelin, Pirelli, and Sumitomo.

All these companies recognize the three mega-trends impacting future tire evolution: eco-friendly vehicles, autonomous vehicle technology, and ride-sharing.

Pierluigi de Cancellis, Pirelli executive vice president technology sums up the five criteria driving innovation:

1. Rolling Resistance: Further reduction in rolling resistance (not only in “free rolling” condition but also and especially in actual driving condition, i.e. braking, cornering, etc.) and hence in energy economy as a consequence also of electric/hybrid vehicle diffusion and the related need for battery autonomy extension.
2. Extended Mobility: Adoption of advanced solutions for the tire puncture problem (e.g. self-sealing tires, runflat tires) as a technology enabling also shared mobility and autonomous driving.
3. Connectivity: Application of sensor technology to development of “intelligent” tires and the use of data collection for enabling different services. The collection and processing of data regarding many aspects of the tire performance and road conditions is useful for optimizing overall tire performance and safety and minimizing energy consumption, a topic of growing importance, especially with regard to electric and hybrid vehicles.
4. Weight: Tire weight is targeted to be reduced in order to improve overall vehicle efficiency.
5. Noise: Due to vehicle evolution, including the diffusion of hybrid/electric cars, tire noise reduction will more and more become a key target.

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June 26, 2018

Tokai Carbon to acquire Sid Richardson

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 4:26 pm

On June 26, Tokai Carbon’s board of directors signed a contract to acquire Sid Richardson. The acquisition is expected to close in early September 2018, subject to approval by regulatory authorities. The acquisition price was Yen 34.1 billion (US$310M).

Sid Richardson (Fort Worth, TX) has 350 employees and had sales of $311.9 million for the year ended December 2017. Sid operates 3 furnace black factories in the US with 440 KTPY of capacity, as well as a research lab in Fort Worth and a sales office in Akron, Ohio.

Tokai Carbon (Tokyo, Japan) expects to have sales of Yen 204 billion (US$1.8 billion) in FY2018 (before acquisition), of which carbon black accounted for 29%. Tokai Carbon currently operates 452 KTPY of furnace black capacity in Japan (202 KT), China (70 KT), and Thailand (180 KT), as well as 45 KTPY of thermal black capacity in Canada through Cancarb Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary acquired in 2014.

This acquisition will give Tokai a major presence in the North American market, as Sid is the largest carbon black producer in the United States.

June 20, 2018

Sid Richardson raising carbon black prices

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 3:12 pm

On June 18, Sid Richardson announced a price increase for all carbon black products effective for all shipments on or after August 1, 2018, or as contracts allow. Due to rising operating and logistic costs associated with carbon black production in North America, the increase is necessary to maintain the high service levels that our customers have come to expect, the company said in a press release. Invoice prices on all carbon blacks will increase by $110/MT.

Here is the press release.

June 11, 2018

Orion to raise carbon black prices in EMEA

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:56 pm

Orion Engineered Carbons has announced a price increase for carbon black sold in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, beginning Aug. 1, or as contracts permit. Prices will be adjusted between $82 and $107 per metric ton, according to the firm. According to Orion, the price increases are being implemented to offset operating expenses which continue to rise because of high utilization rates and the desire to continuously invest in its manufacturing network.

June 6, 2018

Cabot raises carbon black prices in EMEA

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:04 pm

On June 1, Cabot Corporation announced a price increase for all carbon black product in its Reinforcement Materials segment sold in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. The increase will be effective as of July 1, 2018, or as customer contracts allow.

Cabot said that it is experiencing persistent rising costs associated with high utilization rates, increased operating and regulatory costs, and higher logistics expenses in the EMEA region. Despite ongoing efforts to offset these costs, Cabot will increase prices by 80 €/MT, in addition to any applicable index-related adjustments, for all rubber carbon black products including Black Pearls®, CRX™, Endure™, Propel®, Regal®, Vulcan®, Sterling® and Spheron® carbon black grades.

June 5, 2018

SK Capital Partners to acquire SI International, merge with Addivant

Filed under: General, Rubber Chemicals, Tackifiers — Notch @ 9:28 am

On June 1, New York-based private equity firm SK Capital Partners announced the acquisition of SI Group (Schenectady, NY), a leading supplier of plastic additives and rubber chemicals. The business will be merged with SK’s own Addivant business. The Addivant business is the former antioxidant and light stabilizer business of Chemtura, which SK acquired in 2013. No purchase price for the SI Group deal was announced; the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

SI Group, which was founded in 1906 as Schenectady Varnish Co., has more than $1 billion in sales and employs more than 2,800 at 20 locations worldwide. Its product lines include plasticizers, flame retardants and antioxidants. It is also the world’s leading supplier of rubber tackifiers.

Barry Siadat, SK co-founder and managing partner, said in a news release that “by combining the complementary strengths of SI Group and Addivant, we will be creating a global technology and industry leader in plastic, lubricant, oilfield and rubber additives.”

June 2, 2018

Michelin sets tire-recycling goals

Filed under: Tire Recycling — Notch @ 11:46 am

At the Movin’ On 2018 sustainable mobility conference this week, Michelin announced two new goals: to use 80 percent sustainable materials in the manufacture of its tires and to invest in technology to make its tires 100 percent recyclable by 2048.

Today, the world-wide recovery rate for tires is 70 percent and the recycling rate is 50 percent. Michelin tires are currently made using 28 percent sustainable materials (26 percent bio-sourced materials like natural rubber, sunflower oil, limonene etc., and 2 percent recycled materials such as steel or recycled powdered tires). For a sustainable future, Michelin is investing in high technology recycling technologies to be able to increase this content to 80 percent sustainable materials.

One such investment was acquiring Lehigh Technologies Inc. late last year, a company that transforms the rubber from end-of-life tires into material that can be used in new tires, and other products. The micronized rubber powders (MRP) that Lehigh creates can be substituted for oil- and rubber-based feedstocks in lots of applications, including tires.

“If we achieve these ambitions, we would save 33 million barrels of oil each year,” said Cyrille Roget, Michelin’s technical and scientific communication director, “That is equivalent to the entire annual oil consumption of France.”

Michelin admits it needs the rest of the tire industry to join in the mission. “This is not something that we can achieve alone,” says Roget, calling both of these goals “major ambitions.”

Read the full press release here.

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