News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

August 26, 2020

Recovered Carbon Black Congress coming in September

Due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19, this year’s Recovered Carbon Black Congress will be an entirely virtual event. The conference will take place over two 4-hour conference days on 9 & 10 September, commencing at 13:00 BST / 14:00 CEST / 08:00 EDT and will be streamed live via an all-in-one online event platform. Delegates will have the opportunity to gain perspective from key experts in the industry, schedule 1-1 meetings with fellow delegates, engage in real-time discussions, get answers to questions, and access recorded presentations. Notch will be presenting on Day One. 

Here is the conference agenda.

Hurricane Laura will hit US carbon black industry hard

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:57 am

Hurricane Laura is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 storm and make landfall tonight or Thursday morning near the border of Louisiana and Texas. 

From the National Hurricane Center’s Twitter:

Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline.

The National Hurricane Center expects the storm to move through Louisiana into Arkansas by Thursday night, before veering east toward West Virginia and Virginia by early Saturday.

With so much of US carbon black capacity located on the Gulf Coast, the storm will hit the industry hard.

Heavily affected with possible flooding:

  • Birla Carbon USA – Franklin, LA
  • Cabot – Franklin, LA
  • Orion Engineered Carbons – Ivanhoe, LA
  • Orion Engineered Carbons – Orange, TX
  • Together these four plants represent about 30% of US carbon black capacity

Moderately to heavily affected (depending on storm path and severity):

  • Cabot – Ville Platte, LA
  • Tokai Carbon CB – Addis, LA
  • Together these two plants represent about 20% of US carbon black capacity

 

 

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

Phillips Carbon Black Limited successfully embeds technology

Filed under: Carbon Black, General — Notch @ 11:01 pm

With a market presence in 35+ nations, Phillips Carbon Black Limited is India’s largest carbon black producer, with manufacturing units in Durgapur (Eastern India), Kochi (Southern India) and Palej and Mundra (Western India.) Phillips manufactures and supplies carbon black found in eyeliners, laserjet printers, Iphones and even BMW cars. During the pandemic, Phillips faced challenges maintaining operational efficiency, however the company successfully addressed these challenges with the support of technology.

“With our vendor support by IBM, we have embarked on a long term journey with successful projects such as cloud migration, SAP S/4 HANA deployment, remote monitoring setup and counting more. Amid the initial stage of lockdown pan India, we were able to address overnight hardware and software requests of our employees. Our partnership together has strengthened the business with many technology driven benefits…”

Dipan Sengupta, Head- IT, Philips Carbon Black Ltd

To protect users during remote work from home, Phillips invested in a layered security approach to ensure there were no intrusions or threats, and maintained 100% availability of the infrastructure, even safely conducting annual board meetings and audit committee meetings online.

We are a listed company and recently all our major transactional decisions were made online, which were supported by the core IT setup. As we were fully equipped with IT support and availability of applications which are secured, our workflow became seamless. All of this was possible because of our early investments in right technology and infrastructure”

Dipan Sengupta, Head- IT, Philips Carbon Black Ltd

Technology also plays a role in helping manufacturing plants operate efficiently with a system that helps monitor any abnormalities of process. With the collaboration of internal IT and IBM teams, the plants were fully operational, and the company maintained sanitation, thermal testing and social distancing regulations. Phillips has embedded technology at every functional process, resulting in growth and operational efficiency during the pandemic.

Continental earns praise for EcoRubber garden hose

Filed under: General, Rubber — Notch @ 10:43 pm

Continental A.G. has earned high marks from leading polymer and rubber experts for its EcoRubber garden hose that uses sugar cane ethylene rather than petroleum-based, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent.

“Continental is consistently evaluating renewable oils and reclaimed or recycled materials that will reduce our reliance on petroleum-based products while also reducing emissions and landfill of end-of-life rubber products. There were few EPDM rubber grades available with bio-renewable content, so we saw an opportunity….[I]t was our goal to increase the overall amount of renewable material in garden hose construction while maintaining hose performance.”

Andreas Gerstenberger, Executive Vice President at Continental and head of the Industrial Fluid Solutions business unit

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.

Michelin launches fuel-efficient trailer tire

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 12:48 pm

Rubber & Plastic News reports that Michelin North America Inc. has unveiled the Michelin X One Line Energy T2 tire, targeting the dry-van truck load, refrigerated truck-load and tanker segments. The tire offers 11% lower rolling resistance when used in the trailer position, according to Michelin.

“Michelin is committed to investing in our X One technology. This new Michelin X One Line Energy T2 product delivers both improved tread wear while providing fuel and weight savings, lowering the total cost of ownership for fleets, especially during this economically challenged time in the trucking industry.”

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