News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

October 12, 2018

Cooper Tire to consider ceasing light vehicle tire production at England site

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 9:37 am

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Limited, a subsidiary of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., has announced that it will enter a ten month consultation period to explore ceasing light vehicle tire production at its Melksham site in Wiltshire, England.

According to Jaap van Wessum, General Manager, Cooper Tire Europe,
“It is essential for Cooper to be globally competitive in the tire industry. To deliver on our strategic growth objectives, we must produce quality light vehicle tires in high volumes and at a competitive cost. Unfortunately, the Melksham site is an older, smaller facility that does not offer economies of scale and it is the highest cost facility in the global Cooper network. Due to facility age and location in the center of town, it is our current view, subject to consultation, that it is not economically feasible to modernize or expand there for light vehicle tire production.”

Read the full press release here.

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October 9, 2018

SRI doubles plant expansion in Brazil; launches plant in South Africa

Filed under: Tires — Tags: , — Notch @ 11:21 am

Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. is doubling the scale of an ongoing expansion project at its tire plant in Fazenda Rio Grande, Brazil, to 1,000 truck tires a day to meet “steadily growing” demand for truck/bus tires in the country.

Meanwhile, Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (PTY) LTD (SRSA), manufacturer of Dunlop, Sumitomo, and Falken tire brands, officially launched its new, state-of-the-art truck and bus radial (TBR) factory in Ladysmith, Kwazulu-Natal on Tuesday, October 2, 2018.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd (SRI), has tire manufacturing plants in Japan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Turkey, USA, and South Africa.

Read the Brazil press release here.

Read the South Africa press release here.

China’s JGST to build tire plant in Thailand

Filed under: Tires — Tags: — Notch @ 10:19 am

Jiangsu General Science Technology Co. Ltd., reacting to increasing international trade barriers, plans to build a passenger and truck/bus tire plant in Thailand’s Rayong Industrial Zone and is committing up to $300 million for the project. JGST first proposed building an overseas plant in April, in Cambodia, but has decided to change its location.

The plant is designed with capacities of 6 million passenger tires and 1 million truck/bus tires annually, the company said. Construction is slated to take 15 months, and the plant is expected to generate $36 million annual net profit on $320 million in revenue when on full stream upon the third year of its operation.

Among tire makers already manufacturing in Thailand are Bridgestone Corp., Michelin, Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. and Qingdao Linglong Tire Co. Ltd., JGST said.

Sourced article found here.

Synthetic rubber prices likely to remain volatile

Filed under: Rubber, Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 10:04 am

Prices for synthetic rubber and petrochemical feedstocks have been “incredibly volatile” and are likely to remain so for a while, according to Bill Hyde, executive director-olefins and elastomers at IHS Markit, a speaker at the International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Akron Sept. 11-13. “Energy- and economy-related fundamentals in the synthetic rubber market are encouraging, but risks abound,” he said.

Meanwhile, natural rubber pricing is largely to remain soft because of oversupply and the need for small farmers to keep on earning a living, according to Hyde.

Spokespersons for various industry sectors generally agreed with Hyde, especially in his assertion that ethylene is the main driver of pricing in the petrochemical and SR world.

“Ethylene is the center of the petrochemical universe,” he said. “It has a lot of co-products, most importantly butadiene. Ninety percent of all the butadiene produced in the world is a co-product of ethylene.”

Read more here.

October 1, 2018

Cabot buys NSCC Carbon (Jiangsu) carbon black plant in China

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 9:06 am

Cabot Corporation announced today that it has acquired NSCC Carbon (Jiangsu) Co., Ltd. from Nippon Steel Carbon Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Nippon Steel Chemical & Material Co., Ltd. The carbon black manufacturing facility in Pizhou, Jiangsu Province, China, was originally commissioned in 2015. Cabot has been actively exploring and implementing opportunities to increase capacity in its global carbon black network through plant expansions, operational improvements and debottlenecking projects. The 50,000 metric ton plant will support Cabot’s specialty carbons product line within the Performance Chemicals segment. The plant is scheduled to be temporarily mothballed to conduct maintenance and technology upgrades. The upgrades to manufacturing and environmental equipment will enable the site to be more flexible to manufacture different carbon black products and meet ever-stricter environmental standards. The purchase price, which is payable upon satisfaction of certain conditions, and the equipment and technology upgrades are expected to result in spending of approximately $50 million over the next two years.

September 22, 2018

Birla raising carbon black capacity in Spain

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 1:20 pm

On September 21, Birla Carbon Spain (Gajano, Spain), announced an investment of €5 million towards sustainability and energy efficiency projects and to increase its production capacity from 80,000 to 95,000 tons per year. The plant also inaugurated a new administrative office and laboratory complex within its premises. Earlier this year, Birla Carbon announced plans for expansion projects in Egypt, Italy, India, and Thailand.

In a press release announcing the project, Dr. Santrupt B Misra, Chief Executive Officer, Birla Carbon, stated, “At Birla Carbon, we are always striving to create our next opportunity. We always find such exciting opportunities by keenly listening to our customers and by identifying their needs around innovation and improvements. Birla Carbon’s Purpose – “Share the Strength”, brings the spirit of collaboration, engagement and action alive. Our investment into our Spain facility is yet another example of it”.

Speaking at the project’s inauguration, John Loudermilk, COO of Birla Carbon, said, “Birla Carbon is committed to investing in the future of our plants. While we are continuously innovating to ensure our products align to market needs, our technology teams are constantly working towards enhancing our processes to be more sustainable and efficient. Our announcement today, not only drives productivity higher but makes us more sustainable”.

BCS’s investment of €5 mn in the plant will achieve greater reliability and sustainability of its manufacturing process. The installation of new equipment in one of its manufacturing lines and the re-engineering of other critical equipment uses one of the best available technologies in the carbon black industry. These improvements will lead to greater productivity and environmental performance, as well as reliability, the company said in a press release.

September 12, 2018

Carbon Black World coming in less than two weeks

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:50 pm

The Carbon Black World conference, which is held every other year, is coming to Dusseldorf from September 24-26. This is an essential conference for anyone interested in this industry. Notch will be giving a paper on the Carbon Black Global Outlook on Tuesday, September 25.

In addition to two days of talks, attendees should be aware of two preconference seminars being held on Monday, September 24. I will be attending both.

Morning seminar: The changing carbon black feedstock world and the impact of sourcing on total value, from Shane Perl of The Alpen Group. Covers the impending IMO2020 regulations and how they will affect carbon black feedstock availability and sourcing.

Afternoon seminar: Recovered carbon black – from promise to products, from Martin von Wolfersdorff of Wolfersdorff Consulting. Covers the emerging market for recovered carbon black — a panel discussion group with industry all-stars will discuss the current status, success & application stories and future technology for recovered carbon black from tyre pyrolysis.

September 11, 2018

Himadri adds US distributor for specialty blacks

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 5:49 pm

Indian carbon black producer Himadri Specialty Chemicals has selected Terra Firma (Towson, MD) as its exclusive distributor for specialty carbon black in Northeastern, Southeastern, and Southwestern United States effective September 6, 2018. The agreement covers carbon black grades with applications in plastics, inks, coatings, and wire and cable. Himadri is expanding both its capacity and grade mix for specialty blacks.

Tire recycler Black Bear is expanding

Filed under: Tire Recycling — Notch @ 4:40 pm

Rubber & Plastics News reports that Black Bear, a Dutch tire recycling company, has raised $12.8 million to refine its recovered carbon black (rCB) technology and start the global roll out of its cradle-to-cradle system. Black Bear has formed a new consortium with four partners: ING Group, investment firms 5square and Social Impact Ventures, and the Thai conglomerate SCG.

Black Bear’s industrial-scale prototype plant is located in Nederweert, Netherlands. It is capable of processing 1 million waste tires annually, thereby producing 5,000 metric tons each of rCB and bio-fuel, 3,000 tons of steel and one megawatt hour of green electricity per year. The new partnership aims to build up to 1,000 such plants worldwide.

Pirelli sells Venezuelan tire plant

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 4:32 pm

Tire Business reports that Pirelli & C. S.p.A. has “disposed” its tire plant in Guacara, Venezuela, to a consortium of South American entrepreneurs and a company called Sommers International. Pirelli ceased operations at the plant in late August. Pirelli deconsolidated its operations in Venezuela in 2015. The plant produces passenger car and light truck tires.

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