News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

February 8, 2018

Thailand asks farmers to cut down rubber trees to boost prices

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 10:59 pm

Thailand, the world’s largest rubber producer and exporter, has launched a program to encourage farmers to cut down rubber trees earlier than the 25-year life cycle to reduce total annual output by 5 percent by the end of April, in a bid to support falling rubber prices.

To reach the target, the Thai government has earmarked 80 billion baht ($2.5 billion) to compensate those who participate in the program, which is not mandatory.

Thailand has previously used similar “cut-down” measures in coordination with Indonesia and Malaysia, the second- and third-biggest rubber producers in the world, respectively, but the policies were backed up only by verbal interventions, rather than specific action, and failed to have a major impact on prices.

Narongsak Jaisamut, director of the Rubber Authority of Thailand’s Production Development Department told the Nikkei Asian Review on Wednesday that the government will offer farmers 4,000 baht per rai (or 0.16 hectare) to rev up the plan to cut down rubber trees.

“We target to cut as much as 50% of 400,000 rai a year by the first quarter of this year. That would help cut supply by 5% and should help support price,” Narongsak said.

An excessive supply of rubber at a time when global consumption has been weak has dragged down the price of benchmark export grade rubber sheet to around $1.70 a kilogram. The government also plans to spend an additional 3 billion baht to pay farmers to cut down rubbers trees covering an additional 300,000 rai, or 48,000 hectares, by the end of this year. However, that plan has yet to be approved by the Thai cabinet, according to an official at the Rubber Authority of Thailand. Narongsak said the additional measure is expected to cut rubber supply by 20 percent this year and help support prices.

Apart from the measure to cut down rubber trees, the government is promoting their use in other ways in order to help create added value.

Referenced article found here.

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Bridgestone announces new global sustainable procurement policy

Filed under: Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 10:19 pm

Bridgestone has announced a new Global Sustainable Procurement Policy to help identify and evaluate qualified suppliers, promote best practices, and serve as a communication and improvement tool for the industry. The policy is applicable to all purchased materials and services, as well as all suppliers globally.

Guided by Bridgestone’s “Our Way to Serve,” the new policy aligns with Bridgestone’s goal of using 100% sustainable materials* in our products as the long-term vision by 2050 and beyond. It combines previous company guidelines into a single document that sets minimum requirements to conduct business with Bridgestone, as well as preferred practices that can contribute to faster realization of sustainable supply chains. As a large user of natural rubber, the policy describes Bridgestone’s expectations with respect to critical issues within the complex global natural rubber supply chain. An extensive document, the policy addresses four major areas of focus:

• Transparency – including traceability and good governance;

• Compliance – adhering to laws and regulations in the countries and regions in which Bridgestone conducts business;

• Quality, Cost and Delivery (QCD) & Innovation – ensuring high quality materials and services are delivered on time and at reasonable costs, while also pursuing innovative technologies that support improvements across global communities;

• Sustainable Procurement Practices – incorporating environmentally responsible procurement, such as compliance with environmental laws and regulations, respect for human rights, water use, land use and conservation, health, safety, disaster prevention and resilience.

*The Bridgestone Group defines sustainable materials as materials that “1) that come from resources with a guaranteed continual supply, 2) that can be used as part of our business over the long-term, and 3) that have a low environmental and social impact over the lifecycle from procurement to disposal.”

Read the full press release here.

January 30, 2018

World Rubber Summit 2018

Filed under: Conferences, Rubber — Notch @ 12:49 pm

Registration is now open for the ISRG World Rubber Summit 2018. IRSG in collaboration with the Ministry of Plantation Industries of the Government of Sri Lanka will host the World Rubber Summit (WRS) on 7-8 May 2018, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The World Rubber Summit is an unique and exclusive opportunity for the global rubber industry to discuss the current challenges that the industry is facing but also the future opportunities that might arise from the disruptive trends that are transforming the automotive industry and the extensive use of innovative solutions to improve rubber quality and productivity.

This Summit will bring together some 300 delegates from around the world, granting enormous networking and information sharing opportunities to attendees. The WRS 2018 will be combined with the IRSG’s inter-government and industry meetings.

For more information and to register for the World Rubber Summit 2018, visit the conference website.

January 4, 2018

Pirelli and Nizhnekamskneftekhim ink agreement of cooperation

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 3:38 pm

Pirelli has signed a contract with synthetic rubber maker Nizhnekamskneftekhim to establish supply in 2018. The delegates from the Republic of Tatarstan and Pirelli’s representatives met in December in Milan to discuss cooperation in synthetic rubbers business and signed a new contract.

The Russian firm signed a similar agreement to provide synthetic rubber to Michelin in June 2017.

Read Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s press release here.

September 21, 2017

Cabot Opens Asia Technology Center in Shanghai

Filed under: Carbon Black, Rubber — Notch @ 12:51 pm

On September 14, Cabot Corporation officially opened its new Asia technology center on the campus of its regional headquarters in Shanghai.

The nearly 48,500-sq.-ft. technology center will enhance Cabot’s application development capabilities and will provide a “collaboration platform to deliver innovative solutions” to customers throughout Asia Pacific.

Bringing together approximately 30 researchers and scientists from all of Cabot’s businesses, the lab will support Cabot product lines including rubber and specialty carbons, fumed metal oxides, masterbatch and compounds, activated carbon and inkjet colorants with testing and development capabilities that closely represent Cabot’s customer applications.

“This investment in China is strategically important to our ability to deliver on our vision and goal of driving application innovation with our customers by developing solutions that deliver advanced performance,” President and CEO Sean Keohane said.

Read the full press release here.

March 11, 2015

Lanxess may spin off synthetic rubber business

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 6:05 am

Tire Business reports that Lanxess A.G. is holding talks with potential partners regarding the formation of alliances or joint ventures for its synthetic rubber business. The firm is evaluating different strategic options for its SR business, according to a company spokesperson. The restructuring is part of the company’s “Let’s Lanxess Again” initiative. This stage of the initiative will include the examination of competitive alliances to improve access to raw materials and will be executed in 2015 and 2016.

December 29, 2014

ExxonMobil to shut French butyl rubber unit in 2015

Filed under: General, Rubber — Notch @ 6:10 am

Rubber News reports that ExxonMobil has confirmed that it plans to close its butyl rubber unit at Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France by the third quarter of 2015. The unit produces regular butyl rubber; the closure will have no effect on the company’s halobutyl operations, where ExxonMobil is the largest producer in the world.

In May 2014, ExxonMobil announced the construction of new units to produce halobutyl rubber and Escorez hydrogenated hydrocarbon resins at its petrochemical complex in Singapore. The rubber unit will have 140,000 tonnes of capacity, while the resins unit will have 90,000 tonnes, primarily for hot melt adhesives. Completion is scheduled for 2017.

September 30, 2014

Dunlop Aircraft Tyres to open first retread facility in the US

Filed under: Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 6:10 am

Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, a UK-based aircraft manufacturer and retreader, has announced plans to establish its first retreading facility in the United States. The facility will focus on retreading popular narrow and wide-bodied jet airliners and military aircraft, and will also distribute new aircraft tires. Until now, Dunlop has been supported by independent distribution and retreading partners in the Americas who distribute new tires and retread the company’s tire casings for regional turboprops and jets. According to the company, by offering local retreading within the region, Dunlop can bring increased choice to airlines, military aircraft operators and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities. Dunlop is currently evaluating a number of potential sites in the South East of the USA and is planning to open the facility in early 2016. In 2009, Dunlop Aircraft Tyres opened a similar tyre distribution and retreading facility in China. It now employs nearly 60 people and supports airlines across Asia Pacific.

July 2, 2014

Evonik building silanes research center in Germany

Filed under: Rubber, Silica, Tires — Notch @ 6:00 am

Evonik Industries (Essen, Germany) is building a new research center for silanes at its factory in Rheinfelden, Germany. Ground-breaking was held on June 30, 2014 and the facility is scheduled to be complete in early 2016. The investment was valued in the “double-digit-million euro range.” Silanes are used in electronics, tires, adhesives and sealants, and plastics. Application engineering, analytics, and quality management will also be located in the new research center in the future. The center is a logical fit for the Rheinfelden site, which supports an integrated silane chemical production network encompassing research, development, application technology, and production.

The new research center will house up 70 employees in an area of around 3,500 square meters. In a press release on the project, Peter Dettelmann, head of the Rheinfelden site, explained its focus of activity as follows: “The silanes we are researching into here make chips in smartphones faster and more efficient, protect buildings from corrosion and dirt, and enable fuel-saving tires or longer-lasting paints.”

Evonik produces silanes at its sites in Rheinfelden, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium; Rizhao, China; Mobile, Alabama; and Weston, Michigan. The specialty chemical company also operates laboratories for application technology support and regionally specialized research for silanes in China, India, Germany, and the United States. Evonik’s silane portfolio comprises chlorosilanes and organo- functional silanes with an overall annual capacity of 300,000 metric tons.

Here is the press release.

May 29, 2012

Nokian will cut back tire production in Finland as its new Russian plant begins production

Filed under: Carbon Black, insoluble sulfur, Rubber, Rubber Chemicals, Silica, Tire Cord, Tires — Notch @ 11:06 pm

Nokian is scheduled to begin production at its new factory in Vsevolozhsk, Russia in June 2012. The factory is built alonside an existing plant. Two new production lines are scheduled to begin this year, with two more to begin production in 2013 and 2014. At that time, the plant’s annual capacity will be six million tires and the two Russian factories will have a combined annual capacity of approximately 17 million tires.

As production increases in Russia, Nokian is reducing work at its home factories. Starting in July, production at the tiremaker’s plant in Nokia will be cut back to a five day per week schedule. According to the company, the plant will continue to produce primarily for the Nordic countries. The modified production plan will lead to a cut in outsourced labour and the elimination of around 120 jobs. Nokian says a 30 million euro modernisation plan being carried out in the Nokia factory will enable it to operate with a lower workforce.

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