News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

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.

Rubber demand in China forecast to grow 7% in 2012

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 10:57 pm

Rubber demand in China is set to expand 7.2 percent in 2012, beating last year’s pace, as the government focuses on bolstering the world’s second-largest economy, an industry group said. Consumption is forecast to reach 7.4 million metric tons in 2012, up from 6.9 million metric tonnes in 2011 and 6.45 million tons in 2010, said Mary Xu, deputy secretary general of the China Rubber Industry Association, at the World Rubber Summit in Singapore. Of the total, 4 million tons will be the synthetic variety and 3.4 million tons natural rubber, she said. The government is paying, “more attention on the development of the auto industry,” Xu said.

Source: Rubber World

May 23, 2012

BST Elastomers sets up fund to compensate victims of fatal explosion in Maptaphut, Thailand

Filed under: General, Rubber — Notch @ 12:58 am

On May 5, a fatal fire broke out at the BST Elastomers facility in Maptaphut Industrial Estate in Rayong, Thailand. The fire, which broke out in a toluene vessel, resulted in eleven fatalities and 141 injuries. BST Elastomers produces synthetic rubber for automobile tyres, automobile parts, shoe soles, sporting goods, and other rubber products, and toluene is a solvent used in synthetic rubber production. At the time of the incident, during a heavy storm, the facility was in full shut down and the process had been previously cleaned using toluene to dry out moisture. This was to be the last step in the shutdown procedure during a product grade switching process.

On May 15, Mr.Chaiyot Wongphyat, Managing Director of BST Elastomers Co. announced a compensation plan for victims and their families, and on May 17, he announced a plan to establish a THB10 million (US$300,000) fund to administer this compensation. According to a BST press release, Mr. Seni Chittakasem, Rayong Governor, and the governor have agreed in principle with the proposal. According to the company, the plant remains shut down while the accident is investigated. Capacity at the plant is 50 KTPY for butadiene rubber and 70 KTPY for styrene-butadiene rubber.

January 8, 2012

Conti Expands Truck Tread Capacity in Mexico

Filed under: Carbon Black, General, Rubber, Rubber Chemicals, Tires — Notch @ 3:33 pm

Last week, Continental Tire announced plans to double plant size and more than triple capacity at its ContiLifeCycle tread rubber manufacturing plant in Mexico. The plant, which was inaugurated in April 2011, can now produce more than 1.2 million ContiTread products annually. It supplies ContiLifeCycle licensees in Mexico, the US, and Andean region, and is expanding to the Mercosur countries as well. The flat treads produced at the plant currently include: ContiLifeCycle HDL Eco Plus (heavy drive long haul), HTL Eco Plus (heavy trailer long haul), HDR1 (heavy drive regional), D450 (a General brand drive tire), and the HSR (heavy steer regional) and HSC (heavy steer construction) tires for Mexico. The latest expansion doubled plant size and more than tripled its capacity in a project that was occurring more than a year earlier than anticipated due to strong demand for the plant’s products. The new expansion, which involves an additional curing and finishing line, increases the facility’s size to 4,000 square meters and raises capacity, which currently is enough to retread 1.2 million truck tires per year. An additional expansion is planned for 2014 and involves another curing and finishing line.

October 25, 2011

Lehigh Technologies, maker of sustainable rubber powders, expands into Brazil

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 8:20 am

Lehigh Technologies, manufacturer of sustainable, micronized rubber powders, has announced its expansion into Brazil with the appointment of a country manager for Brazil. Lehigh Technologies’ proprietary manufacturing process converts end-of-life tire and post-industrial rubber material into micron-scale sustainable powders that are readily integrated into existing formulations.  In addition to helping companies achieve sustainability goals, key performance attributes are improved and at a significant savings over the cost of virgin raw materials.

“Responsibility toward end-of-life tire collection is an important element in determining where Lehigh expands its footprint, indicating market interest in sustainability. “Brazil’s experience and history in establishing legislation and associations that support the industry of recycling end-of-life tires tells us that the market is interested in increasing its use of sustainable materials,” says Kedar Murthy, general manager and vice president of tire and industrial rubber. “Moreover, there is a sophisticated and diversified industrial base that embraces new technology.”

October 21, 2011

Sibur and Sinopec plan two rubber joint ventures

Filed under: Rubber — Notch @ 9:13 am reports that Sinopec has entered into a memorandum of extended cooperation with the Russian company Sibur to form a joint venture to produce butadiene nitrile rubber in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and Shanghai, China and to form a polyisoprene rubber joint venture. Sibur will provide polymerization and finishing technology for the plants. The Krasnoyarsk plant’s butadiene nitrile rubber capacity will expand to 56,000 tonnes/year. The Shanghai facility will incease to a capacity of approximately 50,000 tonnes/year.

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