News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

July 4, 2018

Wanli puts U.S. plant plans on hold

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 12:58 pm

China’s Guangzhou Vanlead Group Co. Ltd. has put on hold indefinitely plans it announced a year ago to invest $1 billion in a tire plant in South Carolina.

Guangzhou Vanlead, a China state-owned entity that controls Wanli Tire Group, had proposed building a tire plant in Orangeburg County, S.C., capable of producing 6 million consumer tires annually in the eight-year project’s first phase.

Sources at the Orangeburg County Development Commission (OCDC) confirmed recently that the project is in “neutral,” although the OCDC hasn’t ruled out completely that it may still come to fruition. The commission has begun showing other prospective clients the as-yet unidentified plot of land that the Wanli plant was supposed to occupy.

A Wanli source in China confirmed the project’s status, saying the company is evaluating alternative locations in Southeast Asia and Middle/Eastern Europe.

Referenced article found here.

Bridgestone announces hybrid-polymer breakthrough

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals, Tires — Notch @ 12:04 pm

Bridgestone Corp. has announced it has developed a way to bond rubber and resins at the molecular level into a hybrid polymer, a development that shows promise for reducing the amount of polymeric materials needed in tires.

The new polymer, “high strength rubber” (HSR), is described as a hybrid material: bonding synthetic-rubber components such as butadiene and isoprene with resin components such as ethylene at the molecular level. Bridgestone claims it offers “unprecedented durability” with crack-resistance of over five times greater, abrasion resistance over 2.5 times greater, and tensile strength more than 1.5 times greater than natural rubber.

The production process uses Bridgestone’s proprietary gadolinium (Gd) catalyst via copolymerization. The company said it developed the polymer by “further evolving” Gd catalyst technologies used to synthesize polyisoprene rubber.

Target applications, noted Bridgestone, include tires with higher performance and less material than current-generation tires.

The company also anticipates that HSR will help it meet its goal of converting to 100-percent sustainable materials set for 2050.

Read the full press release here.

July 3, 2018

Evonik expanding silica capacity in Turkey

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 6:13 pm

June 29, 2018 — Evonik Industries announced it will increase its annual production capacity for precipitated silica at an existing production site in Adapazari, Turkey by 40,000 metric tons, investing a sum in the lower double-digit million euro range. Evonik and the EGE KIMYA company operate a joint venture in Turkey. Startup of the new production complex is scheduled for 2020. Evonik is implementing this expansion in Adapazari to support the high level of demand for the highly dispersible (HD) silica used in producing Green Tires, particularly from customers in southeastern Europe and the Middle East.

Sustainable materials key to vehicle, tire industry growth

Filed under: Tire Recycling, Tires — Notch @ 3:22 pm

Finding new, sustainable materials for automobiles and auto parts is a crucial part of developing breakthrough solutions for future mobility, Group Michelin and Ford Motor Co. executives said at the recent Movin’On 2018 conference in Montreal.

With the increase in consumers numbering in the billions in the coming decade, there will also be a “tremendous increase in demand for raw materials in the automotive sector, but traditional materials such as natural rubber, steel and petroleum feedstocks for synthetic rubber are in finite supply,” said Francois Masson, leader of Michelin’s recycling program.

“The traditional production model is very linear,” he said. “You make products, you use them, and you dispose of them. We must reconsider that model.”

“The goal is to discover how to increase the uptake of sustainable materials,” he said. “In the design of new mobility products, we need a more sustainable, circular economic model with shorter-loop recycling.”

According to Deborah Mielewski, senior technical leader, materials sustainability at Ford, Ford has always been in the vanguard of researching sustainable materials, beginning with Henry Ford himself.

“Henry Ford believed that agriculture and industry should work together in the development of plant-based materials,” she said. “Once a great idea, always a great idea.”

Historically, Ford has used soybeans in car parts and agricultural byproducts such as wheat straw for steering wheels. Soybeans and wheat straw are far from the only plant-based products Ford uses today, the Ford exec said. The auto maker uses coconut hulls for truck mats, cellulose from tree fiber, pulp from the lumber industry, flax fiber, and rice hulls for parts in the F-150 pickup, she said. “There’s a huge excess of tomato seeds and peels from the tomato processing industry,” she said. “We’re drying that material and using it as a reinforcing fiber in plastics.”

Ford is also collaborating with companies in other industries, such as Coca-Cola Co. and Nike Inc., and Tequila Cuervo La Rojeña, S.A. de C.V, Ms. Mielewski said.

Referenced article found here.

Michelin cites Lehigh as critical retread business supplier

Filed under: Tire Recycling, Tires — Notch @ 2:18 pm

Over the past decade, Michelin has been incorporating recycled powdered rubber into the tread rubber used by its licensed retreaders, in order to increase the sustainable material content of its tires. During that time, Michelin has worked with Lehigh Technologies L.L.C., the Tucker, Ga.-based producer of what it calls “Micronized Rubber Powders” (MRP), which Michelin acquired last October as part of its drive toward more sustainability.

Michelin plans to be the global leader in using MRP in new tires. Working with Lehigh ensures that supply chain efficiencies are maximized and that the specification of the materials fits the performance requirements of the retread compounds.

“Michelin and our customers will continue to benefit from the implementation of this closed-loop approach, where tires are recycled into tires, with Lehigh Technologies,” according to Gary Scheide, responsible for materials manufacturing for Michelin North America.

Michelin outlined its sustainability goals at the Movin’ On 2018 conference. Read more here.

July 2, 2018

Birla Carbon initiates name change for all carbon black subsidiaries — Columbian Chemicals Company changes name to Birla Carbon USA, Inc.

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:55 pm

Effective July 1, Columbian Chemicals Company (Marietta, GA) changed its name to Birla Carbon USA. Aditya Birla Carbon (Mumbai, India) acquired Columbian Chemicals in 2011, and the name change is part of a long-term strategy to bring all of the company’s carbon black operations under the single identity and brand of Birla Carbon. All of Columbian Chemicals global operations also have changed over to the Birla Carbon name, including subsidiaries in Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and South Korea. After the name change, Birla Carbon USA will continue to operate in its current structure, and all contacts will remain unchanged; there has been no change in ownership or management. Columbian Chemicals was founded in 1921.

In addition, all of Birla’s global carbon black operations will now be consolidated under the Birla Carbon brand, as follows:

  • Alexandria Carbon Black Company S.A.E in Egypt is now Birla Carbon Egypt S.A.E.
  • SKI Carbon Black (India) Private Limited (formerly Hi-Tech Carbon) in India will change its name to Birla Carbon India Private Limited (proposed)
  • Thai Carbon Black Public Co. Ltd. in Thailand is now Birla Carbon Thailand Public Co. Ltd.

Here is the press release.

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