News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

August 29, 2017

Grace agrees to acquire Evonik dental silica and Huber defoamer product lines

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 11:55 pm

On August 28, W. R. Grace & Co. announced a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets from Evonik Industries AG on September 5, 2017, following the close of Evonik’s acquisition of J.M. Huber Corporation’s silicas business. The assets to be acquired by Grace include trademarks and licenses to produce and sell Evonik’s SIDENT® dental precipitated silica product range and J.M. Huber Corporation’s defoamer and anti-caking product ranges, branded in the European Economic Area as Zeofoam™ and Zeoflo®, with worldwide product sales rights. Terms were not disclosed. The transaction will not change Grace’s 2017 outlook as of July 27, 2017.

“Grace has long been a leader in both the supply of dental silicas and the supply of additives to a variety of industries. The precipitated silica products and technologies will enable Grace to deliver more value to our leading global consumer products customers with some of the world’s most recognized toothpaste brands. The defoamer precursors and anti-caking agents are a great addition to our strong silica product portfolio,” said Sandra Wisniewski, President, Grace Materials Technologies.


August 16, 2017

Tennessee approves grant for Nokian plant

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 2:24 pm

Tennessee officials have approved a $28.42 million state infrastructure grant in support of Finnish tire manufacturer Nokian Tyres’ planned $360 million tire factory.

Nokian and the state announced in May the manufacturer would build its first U.S. tire plant in Dayton, north of Chattanooga. Construction for the plant will begin in early 2018 with the plant being fully operational by 2020.

Sourced article found here.

Supply issues hit North American carbon black industry

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:00 am

The US carbon black market has seen some turmoil over the three weeks due to operational issues at Continental Carbon’s carbon black factory in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Here is Notch Consulting’s understanding of what is happening:

  • The carbon black factory in Ponca City receives feedstock via pipeline from the Phillips 66 refinery also located in Ponca City.
  • The carbon black plant also receives feedstock by tanker truck from various suppliers.
  • The Phillips refinery previously announced a major scheduled turnaround from September to October. However, Phillips initiated the shutdown of the decant operations earlier than expected (late July), and the shutdown now will extend through December 1.
  • Phillips 66 shut off feedstock supply to the carbon black plant during the last week of July.
  • CBO will not be available from the refinery during this period (i.e., through December 1).
  • Continental Carbon declared force majeure for the Ponca plant on August 2.
  • Continental Carbon reports that the Ponca plant will remain operational during this period. The plant is working to bring in replacement feedstock but details are still under development at this time.

This development comes on the heels of Orion’s announcement earlier this month that it plans to mothball one production line at its Orange, TX at the end of 2017. These two developments have raised serious concerns about carbon black supply in the United States over both the short and long term. Notch Consulting estimates that $5.2 billion will be spent in the United States on new tire production capacity from 2016 through the end of 2021, including new tire factories from Continental, Giti, Hankook, Kumho, Nokian, Qingdao Sentury, and Wanli, as well as major expansions from Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Sumitomo, Toyo, and Yokohama. Obviously these expansions will put a strain on existing supply, particularly as no capacity expansions have been announced for the region and three of the five domestic producers of carbon black are in talks with the EPA regarding new emission standards (which could potentially lead to the closure of some capacity).

Notch Consulting this month is publishing the new edition of its Carbon Black World Data Book, which covers global supply and demand in this $13 billion industry. This year’s edition will include a special report on conditions in the North American market given recent events, including near and long-term scenarios for imports and domestic supply. Contact Notch at info @ for details or to order.

August 10, 2017

Phillips Carbon Black announces capacity expansion

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:19 pm

Phillips Carbon Black, India’s largest carbon black producer, announced today a plan to invest Rs 300 crore (US$47M) in the current fiscal year to increase carbon black capacity by 80,000 tons at its plants in Mundra and Palej by March 2019. The project will raise PCBL’s total capacity to 560,000 tons. The company reported that it used 98% of its 480,000 tons of currently installed capacity last year. PCBL is also considering a new greenfield carbon black plant of 120,000 tons to be located in Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh. The company already owns a 60-acre plot in Tamil Nadu, which makes it the most likely location, though Andhra Pradesh is also under consideration. Both states are in southeastern India. Previously, PCBL announced plans to install a new production line dedicated to specialty blacks at its plant in Palej. This project is separate from the above announcement.

Bridgestone to invest $304 million for plant expansion in India

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 12:46 pm

Bridgestone India Pvt. Ltd., a group company of Bridgestone Corporation has announced plans to invest $304.3 million USD for expansions of its Pune (Chakan) and Indore (Kheda) plants. The project will be phased in over the next five years.

Production capacity is expected to increase by an estimated 15,000 tires per day, bringing total daily production from both plants to approximately 41,000 tires by 2022.

August 1, 2017

Indian tire company, Balkrishna Industries, announces carbon black plant

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tires — Notch @ 6:30 am

An Indian tire company, Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (Mumbai, India), has announced a new project to build a 60,000 ton/year carbon black plant at its plant in Bhuj, Gujarat, India. No completion date was announced. The budget for the project is Rs 150 crore (US$23 million). Balkrishna produces tires mainly for specialty markets, focusing on off-the-road, earthmover, agricultural, industrial, ATV, and lawn/garden equipment tires. Annual sales total US$850M, according to the company.

July 31, 2017

Orion announces carbon black price increase and capacity reduction for US

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 11:23 am

On Friday, Orion Engineered Carbons announced two actions:

1, A price increase of five cents per pound on all rubber carbon blacks sold in the US. The increase is effective September 1, 2017 or as contracts allow. On the price increase, Orion’s Vice President, Rubber Carbon Blacks Business Line, Christ Erickson, said, “This increase in pricing and the investments in production are necessary to ensure our long term supply capability.”

2. In addition, Orion announced the idling of one Rubber Carbon Black production line at its Orange, Texas facility, effective at year end 2017. The press release stated, “Orion is taking this action because current price levels of Rubber Carbon Blacks in North America do not adequately address the costs of maintaining this production capacity.” Orion did not publicly announce the amount of capacity being removed.

Here is the press release.

July 24, 2017

China’s Hixih to expand car, truck tire capacity

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 6:36 pm

JINING, China — Hixih Rubber Industry Group is planning to add annual capacity for 12 million passenger tires and 2 million truck/bus tires at its Shenzhou Tire and Tongli Tire Co Ltd. subsidiaries in Jining, Shandong, pending regulatory approval.

The projects are budgeted at $690 million and include the construction of new production areas totaling more than 8 million square feet at the two subsidiary companies.

The car tire expansion at the Shenzhou Tire facilities represent an investment of $410 million and a physical expansion of 5 million square feet.

The truck/bus tire project, budgeted at $280 million, will double the Tongli Tire factory’s capacity to 4 million units a year, Hixih said. The company anticipates adding production areas covering 3 million square feet and equipping the expansion with state-of-the-art equipment sourced from leading international suppliers.

Read the full press release here.

Sourced article here.

July 20, 2017

Sumitomo to expand China production

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 7:30 am

OSAKA — Sumitomo Rubber Industries will increase its Chinese production capacity of passenger vehicle tires by roughly 60% by 2020, anticipating brisk demand for fuel-saving tires.

The Kobe-based rubber company plans to boost capacity in China to 100,000 tires daily. To achieve this, it expects to spend about 30 billion yen ($267 million) to triple output at a plant in inland Hunan Province from around 20,000 to 60,000.

Read more here.

July 19, 2017

Michelin unveils Tweel for mowers

Filed under: Run-flats — Notch @ 3:17 pm

Group Michelin’s Tweel Technologies has launched the airless Michelin X Tweel Turf Caster for select zero-turn commercial mowers.

The airless-radial caster tire-wheel assembly replaces the standard 13×6.5×6 front caster tire and wheel on zero-turn mowers.

“Michelin Tweel Technologies has conducted extensive field testing to optimize the product and validate the customer benefits,” said Olivier Brauen, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies.

The Tweel caster is constructed with high-strength poly-resin spokes that carry the load and create suspension-like characteristics for the front of the mower, the company said. This structure absorbs impact and reduces bounce for improved operator comfort while also maintaining a consistent height for a uniform cut. The caster’s durable, poly-resin tread also provides long wear life, Michelin said.

Read more here.

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