News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

January 19, 2021

Ferentino Tyre opens tire plant in Sri Lanka

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 9:22 pm

From Rubber & Plastics News comes word that Ferentino Tyre Corp. Pvt. Ltd., an enterprise backed by United Arab Emirates-based investment company Onyx Group, has commissioned production at a $250 million tire factory at a site southwest of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The project was previously known as Rigid Tyre Corp., which announced in January 2017 that it would build a tire plant in an industrial park in Horana with equipment provided by Italy’s Marangoni Group. Ferentino Tyre commissioned the new plant in a ceremony on January 14. The plant has capacity for passenger, SUV, truck and two- and three-wheeler tires, and annual capacity is projected to reach 2.4 million units. Investment of the first phase is $100 million. Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed by March 2022.

US Tire Manufacturers Association issues statement on California’s proposed actions on zinc and 6PPD in tires

Filed under: Regulatory, Rubber Chemicals, Tires — Notch @ 9:14 pm

On January 12, the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association issued a statement in response to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) announcement that a petition to review zinc in automobile tires under the state’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations has been granted. The USTMA’s statement follows in its entirety:

The decision to grant a petition to add vehicle tires containing zinc oxide to the California Safer Consumer Products Regulations Priority Products list will not achieve its intended purpose.  However, we support DTSC’s decision to include discussions about 6PPD in future workshops and we support designating 6PPD in automobile tires as a Priority Product for review under the state’s green chemistry program.

Zinc
Zinc is found naturally in the environment and is contained in many products including galvanized metal, fertilizer, paint, batteries, brake pads and tires.  Research demonstrates that discharges of domestic wastewater and galvanized metal surfaces account for 75% of zinc in the environment, while tires typically account for less than 10%.

Because zinc is widely used in many products, zinc water quality issues can only effectively be mitigated through a collaborative, holistic approach. Since 2016, USTMA has worked with the California State Water Resources Control Board, the International Zinc Association, and the California Stormwater Quality Association as part of a collaborative process to identify effective solutions to zinc water quality issues in the state.  USTMA continues to believe that this effort is the most promising avenue to resolve California’s zinc water quality issues, and we urged DTSC to support this collaboration before moving to a narrow focus on zinc in tires under the Safer Consumer Products regulation.

Zinc oxide plays a critical and irreplaceable role in manufacturing tires. Zinc oxide serves as an “activator” in the vulcanization process that turns soft, sticky rubber into stable components that allow a tire to carry the weight of a vehicle and to stop safely. Manufacturers have tested a variety of other metal oxides to replace or reduce the use of zinc but have not found a safer alternative. Without the use of zinc oxide, tires cannot meet federal safety standards.  ​

6PPD
Tire manufacturers recommended adding 6PPD to the Priority Products Work Plan following a recent study that suggests a link between Coho salmon mortality and a transformation product of 6PPD from tire and road wear particles (TRWP) called 6PPD-quinone. The tire industry uses 6PPD to help tires resist degradation and cracking, which is vital for passenger safety. 6PPD has been studied, but not enough is known about the newly discovered transformation product, 6PPD-quinone. We are committed to collaborating with researchers and regulators in California and Washington to better understand this material, fill knowledge gaps and determine next steps.

Tire manufacturers’ commitment to sustainability
Tire manufacturers are dedicated to understanding and reducing the environmental impact of their products. USTMA members — both individually and through partnerships — are working to incorporate more renewable and recycled materials into tires, enhancing biodiversity and reducing dependence on non-renewable feedstocks. Cooper, Goodyear, Pirelli, and Continental are working with academic institutions and other partners to explore the use of dandelions as an alternative to rubber. Bridgestone, Goodyear, Yokohama and Hankook are replacing petroleum in tires with vegetable, soybean or orange peel oil.

We intend to continue advancing this commitment to sustainability through collaboration with the California State Water Resources Control Board and California Stormwater Quality Association to help find effective solutions to the state’s zinc-related water quality issues.

January 11, 2021

Fire consumes Hexpol Compounding site in Tennessee

Filed under: General, Rubber, Tires — Notch @ 11:17 pm

Hexpol Compounding’s rubber compounding plant in Jonesborough, Tennessee caught fire in the early morning of January 7, causing workers to evacuate and sending one person to the hospital. Thick smoke from the fire was visible for hours as firefighters fought for more than 24 hours to bring the blaze under control.

In a statement, Hexpol said,

Jonesborough, TN, 1/7/20 – At approximately 1:30 am CST on January 7th, HEXPOL’s Jonesborough rubber compounding facility, located in Jonesborough, TN, had a significant fire in the facility.

Emergency protocols were immediately activated, and 22 employees were evacuated from the facility.  One employee is being treated for injuries.  At this time, there are no fatalities.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and HEXPOL is fully cooperating with governmental officials.

Local authorities have begun investigations into the cause of the fire.

December 2, 2020

USTMA raises forecast for US tire shipments in 2020

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 12:48 am

On December 1, the US Tire Manufacturers Association announced a significant revision to its forecast for US tire shipments. Even with the improved outlook, however, total shipments in 2020 are expected to fall 10.3% from 2019 levels.

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) projects U.S. tire shipments will total 298.3 million units by the end of 2020, compared to 332.7 million units in 2019. This forecast represents a significant improvement of nearly 19 million units from the 2020 volume USTMA forecasted in July, reflecting industry resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Compared to 2019, Original Equipment (OE) shipments for passenger, light truck and truck tires are expected to decrease by 20.4%, 18.0% and 29.0% respectively, with a total reduction of 12.4 million units. Replacement passenger and light truck tire shipments are projected to decrease by 9.5% and 1.8% respectively, with truck tire replacement shipments showing a modest decline at 2.1%. The total unit reduction for replacement tires is projected to be 22.0 million units.

September 18, 2020

Bridgestone closing French tire plant in 2021

Filed under: Carbon Black, General, Rubber Chemicals, Tires — Notch @ 1:44 pm

On September 16, Bridgestone Corporation announced plans to cease production at its 60-year-old passenger tire plant in Bethune, France in 2021. The company said the decision came in response to the challenging long-term outlook for the European passenger tire market, and that the closure represents the only viable path to safeguard the competitiveness of Bridgestone’s operations in Europe. All manufacturing operations at the site would cease, affecting 863 workers.

The current industry context for passenger tyres is threatening Bridgestone’s competitiveness in the European market. For the last several years, the market for passenger tyres has been facing strong headwinds – even without taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The passenger tyre market has seen its volumes stabilize over the last few years (average annual growth < 1%) while competition from low-cost Asian brands continues to increase (market share of 6% in 2000 increased to 25% in 2018) leading to general production overcapacity. This has resulted in pressure on pricing and margins, as well as overcapacity in the Low Rim Diameter segment, given a declining demand in LRD. And within Bridgestone’s overall European footprint, the Bethune plant is the least well positioned and least competitive.

Over the last years, Bridgestone has taken several measures, including attempts to increase the competitiveness of the Bethune plant. These have proven to be insufficient and Bridgestone has been losing money on tyres produced in Bethune for several years. Considering the current market dynamics, no improvement in the situation is foreseeable.

The decision drew immediate protest from the union and workers, who protested outside the plant the day following the announcement.

August 24, 2020

Bridgestone to close tire plant in South Africa

Filed under: Carbon Black, General, Rubber Chemicals, Tires — Notch @ 9:41 pm

Last week, Bridgestone announced a plan to close its bias tire manufacturing plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The closure is in line with the company’s recently announced strategy to focus on premium profitable growth segments of its business. Bridgestone Southern Africa (BSAF) has initiated a Section 189 notice and a consultative process in compliance with the South African Labour Relations Act.

Bridgestone said that the Port Elizabeth plant, which is 84 years old, is specifically geared towards the production of older bias tires, which are globally in decline and being phased out in South Africa as it is an unprofitable market. The effects of a shrinking economy and an influx of cheap imports compounded by rapid changes in the tire industry has prompted BSAF to restructure its operations. The agricultural industry is shifting to radial tires, which are longer lasting, and the production of which is modern and high-speed. Converting the plant to produce radial tires would require a substantial investment that is not feasible in the current economy. The move will affect 252 employees. A second Bridgestone factory in Brits, South Africa, will remain in operation.

August 23, 2020

Cooper breaks ground on Indiana distribution center

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 8:45 am

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is replacing it’s Franklin distribution center with a 1 million square foot regional facility in Whiteland, Indiana. The company held a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 18 and expects to open in early 2021.

The new center is one of six U.S. regional distribution centers operated by Cooper and will provide increased capacity for product storage and enhanced modern efficiencies.

August 20, 2020

Goodyear responds to Trump tweet

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 2:42 pm

Yesterday, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company issued a press release responding to President Trump’s tweet calling for a boycott of the company’s products. Below is the text in full:

AKRON, Ohio, August 19, 2020 – A Message from Goodyear to Our Customers, Partners and Associates:  

Yesterday, Goodyear became the focus of a conversation that created some misconceptions about our policies and our company.  For those not aware, a widely circulated image sparked a strong reaction, and we wanted to take the opportunity to provide some important context to the visual and our policies. 

First, the visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class. To be clear on our longstanding corporate policy, Goodyear has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination. To enable a work environment free of those, we ask that associates refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party, as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues.

Second, we appreciate the diverse viewpoints of all of our more than 60,000 associates, which are at the heart of many of the policies we establish. Fostering an inclusive, respectful workplace is important to establish teamwork and build culture, which is another reason we ask associates not to engage in political campaigning of any kind in the workplace – for any candidate, party or political organization.

Third and finally, Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so. These are not mutually exclusive. We have heard from some of you that believe Goodyear is anti-police after reacting to the visual. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we have the utmost appreciation for the vital work police do on behalf of our shared communities. This can’t be said strongly enough.

August 14, 2020

Conti expects slight recovery for remainder of 2020

Filed under: Auto, Coronavirus/COVID-19, General, Tires — Notch @ 12:49 pm

Continental A.G.’s tire group expects a slight recovery in the tire market for the remainder of 2020, despite suffering a 23 percent drop in first-half sales revenue,

Rubber & Plastic News reports that Conti attributes decline in sales volumes for passenger and light truck tires to the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic.

The German group said it expects demand for replacement tires for cars and light commercial vehicles to “normalize” in the third quarter, although that means volumes in Europe will be 10 percent to 15 percent lower than a year ago and 5 percent to 10 percent lower in North America.

Continental invests $4 million to expand Indiana site

Filed under: Auto, General, Rubber, Tires, Uncategorized — Notch @ 12:48 pm

Rubber & Plastic News reports that Continental A.G. is planning a $4 million expansion of their Auburn, Indiana facility, transforming the facility into a research, development and technology hub for its ContiTech Vibration Control business.

The $4 million investment will not only upgrade the facility, it will bring more than 45 new jobs to northeastern Indiana, according a joint news release issued by Continental and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. It also will allow ContiTech to consolidate its vibration control technical center operations, currently in Michigan and Canada.

The Indiana facility should be fully operational by 2024.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress.com.