News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

October 7, 2019

Orion introduces fuel-saving carbon black for tires

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:51 pm

Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. is presenting a new surface-modified carbon black for rubber applications at the 196th Technical Meeting of the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society in Cleveland, Ohio on October 9, 2019. The meeting is part of the International Elastomer Conference (IEC), which provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, observations, regulatory reforms and emerging scientific technologies.

The paper is titled “Surface Modified Carbon Black for Modern Low Rolling Resistance Tires” and will be presented by Dr. Hauke Westenberg, Compounding Manager from Orion’s Innovation Group. According to Orion, the new carbon black filler system significantly reduces the energy loss of a tire tread compound and therefore the tire rolling resistance. This increases fuel efficiency and reduces the tire’s carbon footprint.

Hankook postpones truck tire plant in Hungary

Filed under: Carbon Black, Rubber Chemicals, Silica, Tires — Notch @ 2:06 pm

Tire Business (via European Rubber Journal) reports that Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. has postponed plans to establish a $318 million truck and bus tire plant at its existing car tire factory in Rácalmás, Hungary. The project was announced in March 2018 and involved the construction of a separate plant to produce 550,000 medium and heavy truck/bus tires per year. The postponement does “not mean the cancellation of that plan,” Hankook said in a written statement to ERJ on Oct. 2.

The current economic downturn, especially in the automotive industry, was a factor behind the decision, said Felix Kinzer, head of communications at Hankook Tire Europe. The tire maker, he added, is undergoing “mediations” with various stakeholders for future execution of the plan, which would mark the site’s fourth round of expansion.

“Our company has a mid- to long-term plan for truck tire sales growth on the European continent and is reviewing various options,” Mr. Kinzer said.

October 6, 2019

Nokian’s US plant begins production

Filed under: Carbon Black, Rubber Chemicals, Silica, Tires — Notch @ 7:22 pm

On October 2, Nokian Tyres celebrated the official opening of its North American production factory in Dayton, Tennessee. The 830,000-square foot complex will produce approximately four million tires per year once it reaches full capacity. At that stage, the company will employ as many as 400 workers. The factory is currently in the trial production stage and will be ready to make tires for commercial use in early 2020. Nokian Tyres broke ground on the factory in September 2017, and the company has set a goal to double its North American sales in five years. Founded and headquartered in Finland, Nokian Tyres operates factories in Finland, Russia, and now the United States. At the Dayton factory, the company aims to fill expanding North American demand and seize on opportunities in the all-season and all-weather markets.

 

September 17, 2019

Cancarb names new president

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:15 pm

On September 12, Tokai Carbon, parent company of Cancarb Limited, announced the appointment of Mr. Peter Donnelly as President, replacing Mr. Ken Tate, who will retire as of September 30, 2019. Mr. Tate will remain in an advisory capacity through December 31, 2019. Cancarb Limited is the world’s largest producer of medium thermal black.

Takashi Masaki, General Manager of the Carbon Black Division of Tokai Carbon stated, “We extend our thanks to Ken Tate for his efforts over the past five years, especially in seeing through the transition to Cancarb being a subsidiary of Tokai Carbon, as well as initiation and approval of the unit six expansion.”

Peter Donnelly has worked in various roles in Cancarb over the past 24 years including most recently as VP, Marketing, and prior to that as Director, Quality and Development. “We are confident that his vision and strong mindset will successfully guide Cancarb in the coming years,” Masaki said.

August 21, 2019

Cabot increases feedstock surcharge for rubber blacks in North America

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:35 pm

On August 19, Cabot Corp. announced that it will apply a Feedstock Surcharge of $0.03 per pound for all carbon black products sold by the Reinforcement Materials segment in North America, effective October 1, 2019 and to the extent allowed under customer contracts.  This replaces the previously announced feedstock surcharge of $.01 per pound that has been in effect since April 1, 2019.

According to a company press release announcing the increase, the carbon black feedstock market in North America is seeing increasing effects from changes in the types of crude oil being refined and an increase in demand for low sulfur fuel oil associated with the upcoming 2020 International Maritime Organization (IMO 2020) regulation, also known as MARPOL. As a result, Cabot is seeing changes to the type and availability of material with the specific quality required to produce carbon black.

 

August 6, 2019

Cabot adding feedstock surcharge to specialty black sales in North America

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:06 pm

Today, Cabot Corporation announced that it will implement a feedstock surcharge for all specialty carbon black products manufactured in North America. The decision is driven by new low sulfur fuel regulations. Cabot will institute a surcharge of $0.07/pound for all orders shipped on or after September 16, 2019, or as customer contracts allow, for all specialty carbon black products produced by its Performance Chemicals segment in North America.

Cabot’s specialty carbon blacks are produced from high quality, low sulfur feedstocks that are sourced from a similar pool as marine fuels. This market is undergoing significant change due to the 2020 International Maritime Organization (IMO 2020) fuel sulfur regulation, also known as MARPOL. Though the IMO 2020 regulation is set to be implemented in January 2020, changes in certain supply chains are already evident.

In a press release announcing the decision, Jay Doubman, Cabot’s senior vice president and president, Performance Additives said, “We recognize this new rule will bring long-term benefits to the environment and human health; it also presents disruption in the industry and comes with upfront costs to adapt. This change in industry structure will take time to stabilize, and we are committed to providing transparency and predictability to our customers.”

Cabot expects that once new lower sulfur indices are stabilized and fully adopted by the supply chain, it will transition to pricing and indices that appropriately represent the input costs of carbon black.

August 1, 2019

Birla Carbon raising specialty black prices in North America

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 12:01 pm

On August 1, Birla Carbon announced it will raise prices for all specialty carbon blacks in North America by 9% effective September 1, 2019. All shipments made on or after this date are subject to the price increase. According to Birla, the increase is necessary due to extreme cost increases in carbon black feedstock. In addition, Birla Carbon will implement a revised schedule of fees for non-standard package services, also effective September 1, 2019. 

Here is the press release. 

July 31, 2019

PCBL opens R&D center

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 7:49 pm

Phillips Carbon Black has completed a state-of-the-art R&D center at Palej, Gujarat. Spread over 27,000 square feet, the Sushila Goenka Research and Development Centre entailed an initial investment of Rs 20 crore (US$3 million) and currently employs 30 researchers. It will facilitate development of new carbon black products for tire, MRG, and specialty markets, including engineering plastics, fibers, food contact plastics, wire & cables, ink, paints, batteries and other applications.

July 28, 2019

Orion raising carbon black prices in North America

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:28 pm

On July 22, Orion Engineered Carbons announced a price increase for North American carbon black prices, including both rubber blacks and specialty blacks.

Text of the press release follows:

Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. (NYSE: OEC) (the “ Company ” or “ Orion ”), a worldwide supplier of specialty and high-performance Carbon Black, today announced that effective September 1, 2019 or as contracts allow, Orion Engineered Carbons will increase sales prices by $0.08/pound for Rubber grade Carbon Black and $0.07/pound for Specialty grade Carbon Black for all Carbon Black produced and sold in North America to recover the rapidly rising feedstock costs as well as to ensure continued reliable supply.

On all Rubber grade Carbon Black, Orion will increase current base prices by $0.04/pound. This is necessary to reliably secure increased demand while maintaining quality and sustainable supply.

Carbon Black Oil (CBO) is the primary raw material/feedstock used for the production of furnace grade Carbon Black in the U.S. Costs for CBO vary based on the quality and sulfur content. Recently, demand for certain qualities of CBO has increased dramatically. This is due to IMO2020 regulations and by U.S. EPA mandates. Consequently, on all Rubber grade Carbon Black and on select Standard Specialty grade Carbon Black, Orion will implement a CBO surcharge to offset the rapidly rising difference between the cost of CBO and the reference feedstock differential (High Sulfur Fuel Oil). The floor CBO surcharge shall be $0.04/pound and will be adjusted quarterly, except where significant intra-quarter swings require quicker reaction.

For Low Sulfur Specialty grade Carbon Black, we will add a CBO surcharge to offset the differential versus the reference feedstock (1% Low Sulfur Fuel Oil). This surcharge is currently $0.07/pound and will be adjusted quarterly, except where significant intra-quarter swings require quicker reaction.

For the U.S., Orion is also updating certain charges for non-standard services to better reflect actual current costs. The updated list is available on Orion’s website.

Birla Carbon changes feedstock index for North American carbon black pricing

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:04 pm

On July 26, Birla Carbon announced that effective August 1 the company will change the pricing mechanism for all North America contract price formulas. The long-used index up to this date, U.S. Gulf Coast High Sulfur Fuel Oil, will change to U.S. Gulf Coast 0.5% Sulfur Fuel Oil.

In a press release announcing the change, Birla Carbon said:

Feedstock to make carbon black is sourced from markets driven by marine fuel.  This market is undergoing fundamental changes driven by regulations widely known as MARPOL 2020 or IMO 2020, which establishes the maximum allowable sulfur content in marine fuel at 0.5%.  While this regulation is effective January 1, 2020, the supply chain is adjusting now.

Naturally, these changes have impacted carbon black feedstock markets.  The high sulfur index historically used in carbon black price formulas no longer reflects the markets in which feedstock is procured.  Therefore, this change is necessary to ensure a sustainable supply of carbon black.

Carbon black price formula changes in other parts of the world will be communicated separately, consistent with the timing and manner in which those markets are impacted.

 

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