News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

October 27, 2014

Reflections of Barcelona

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 10:57 am

The Carbon Black World conference was held last week in Barcelona, Spain. Organized by Smithers Rapra, this year’s conference was one of the largest and most comprehensive, bringing together more than 275 industry leaders — including carbon black producers and customers, feedstock and equipment suppliers, investors, and consultants — for three days of talks, socializing, and networking. Andrew Smaha of Smithers Rapra worked diligently this year to expand the program and to bring in new voices, and his efforts certainly paid off in terms of both the presentations and the attendance.

Notch Consulting’s keynote address was entitled “Global Carbon Black Outlook and Trends,” and it looked at three major trends affecting the carbon black industry: 1. the US EPA’s program to tighten air emission regulations for US carbon black plants; 2. the Chinese carbon black export boom, its causes and effects; and 3. the ongoing competition between carbon black and precipitated silica in tire treads. The paper also presented an overview of carbon black supply/demand as well as forecasts. Unfortunately, due to a last minute travel snafu, I was unable to attend the conference and was profoundly grateful to my friend David Shaw, who stepped at the last minute to deliver Notch’s paper. David runs Tire Industry Research, a new consulting firm dedicated to the tire industry. David’s own excellent paper was entitled “Tire Industry Demand by Region; Macro Stressors and Potential Future Outcomes.”

Altaf Jiwani of Phillips Carbon Black presented a paper on specialty blacks for plastics, printing inks, paints, and adhesives. Timofey Kucherenko of Omsk Carbon Group presented an overview of the Russian carbon black industry, while William Jones of Sid Richardson Carbon & Energy presented the North American perspective. Feedstock issues were addressed in a session that included papers from Ms. Madhurima Gupta of Birla Carbon, Vince Guercio of CTC International, Kris Vanherbergen of RUTGERS, and Professor Li Bingyan of the China Carbon Black Institute.

In other notable papers, Martin O’Neill of Cabot Corporation presented an overview of the EPA activity in North America, while technical and process issues were addressed by CP Natarajan of Ganpads (technology enhancements to improve yield and reduce emissions); Cui Jianbo of Doright (air preheaters); Greg Homoki of ARVOS GmbH (air preheaters); and Volker Schmitz of PCME (baghouse filters). Markets for conductive blacks were addressed in papers by Fabrizio Corti of Imerys Graphite & Carbon and Dr. Yangyong Wang of AdvanPro Limited. Finally, a full session was dedicated to the important issue of sustainability and carbon black recycling, featuring talks by Sanford Ewing of Tellus Technology, Dr. Philipp Theden of carbon clean tech AG, Dr. Ulrich Sattler of Pyrolyx AG, and Thomas Redd of Reklaim Inc.

There are three separate conferences covering the carbon black industry: Carbon Black World and Carbon Black Asia Pacific are held in October/November on alternating years in North America/Europe and Asia, respectively, while Carbon Black China is held every other year in China. The next Carbon Black Asia Pacific conference will be held from November 4-6, 2015 at the Bey Hotel Tokyu in Yokohama, Japan. The next Carbon Black China conference will be held in April 2016 at a site in China to be determined. The next Carbon Black World conference will be held October/November 2016 at a site to be determined.

October 3, 2014

Omsk Carbon Group opens office in Canada

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 3:32 pm

Omsk Carbon Group, Russia’s largest producer of carbon black, announced in September that it had opened a Canadian office in Prescott, Ontario. The new office, which is called Omsk Carbon Canada Limited, carried out its first carbon black deliveries in September. Omsk has been serving Canadian customers for many years but decided to expand its global distribution network with an direct representative office in Canada. Omsk also operates representative offices in the United States, Germany, Romania, and Turkey. Brent Ellis was named the General Manager of Omsk Canada Carbon Limited.

September 30, 2014

Sumitomo’s new Enasave Next tire has 50% lower rolling resistance

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 6:46 am

In September, Sumitomo Rubber Industries launched a new flagship product for its Dunlop-brand Enasave series of fuel-efficient tires. The new tire, which is currently offered only in Japan, achieved an ‘AAA-a’ rank under the Japanese tire labeling program, the highest rating possible for rolling resistance and wet grip. Sumitomo says the new tire has 50% lower rolling resistance than the standard Japanese replacement market Dunlop tire that the company introduced in 2008, the year it set out to achieve this goal. Sumitomo met another of its long term goals in November 2013, when it introduced the Dunlop Enasave 100, an entirely fossil-free tire, at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Goodyear plans to produce tires using silica produced from rice hull ash

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 6:30 am

According to Rubber News, Goodyear plans to produce plans to use silica derived from rice husk ash to produce low rolling resistance tires. The ash is a waste-product from the burning of rice husks to produce electricity. Goodyear reportedly has tested silica derived from rice husk ash over the past two years at its Innovation Center in Akron and found that the material’s effect on tire performance was “equal to traditional sources.” Goodyear is reportedly in the process of negotiating with potential suppliers to purchase silica produced from rice hull ash.

“The use of rice husk ash will provide Goodyear an alternative source of silica while helping reduce the amount of rice husk waste being landfilled,” said Joseph Zekoski, interim chief technical officer. “This illustrates Goodyear’s commitment to innovation and to the environment.”

Last year, Pirelli announced that it was planning to use rice hull ash silica in its tires, while Bridgestone has committed to begin production of plant-derived tires by 2020.

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.

September 22, 2014

Lanxess keeping rubber chemicals businesses

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 6:30 am

Following a strategic review that began in September 2013, Lanxess has decided to retain its antioxidant and accelerators businesses after failing to receive an attractive offer. The two business lines will be merged into the Advanced Industrial Intermediates business unit. The restructuring is part of a group-wide realignment (“Let’s Lanxess Again”) that will reduce the company’s 14 business units down to 10 in 2015.

“We are certain that the decision to take forward rubber chemical operations inside Lanxess is the best option for long-term commercial success. Consolidating the business areas will generate synergies that will help us further improve our competitiveness,” said Hubert Fink, head of the Advanced Industrial Intermediates business unit.

September 11, 2014

Evonik completes silica expansion in US

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 4:27 pm

On September 9, Evonik Corporation opened its new 20,000 metric ton expansion at its precipitated silica plant in Chester, Pennsylvania. The project is part of a multi-year program whereby Evonik will increase its global silica capacity by 30%, including projects in Europe, Asia, Brazil, and the US. The new capacity will be targeted at the tire, food, animal feed, and other industries.

September 8, 2014

Nigerian refinery resuming carbon black production

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:05 am

Notch Consulting has received word that the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC), a unit of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has resumed limited production of carbon black at a production unit located at its refinery in Warri, Nigeria. This carbon black plant has been shut down in recent years and operated sporadically for at least a decade. Notch has its nameplate capacity listed at 18,000 tonnes per year. In addition to the carbon black unit, the entire Warri refinery has operated erratically in recent years due to financial problems, lack of proper maintenance, and persistent attacks on pipelines by oil thieves. According to this article from August, the refinery saw its supply of crude oil cut off in August for unexplained reasons.

A source that pleaded anonymity told LEADERSHIP Friday, “PPMC [Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, another subsidiary of NNPC] has cut off crude oil supply to Warri Refinery in the past two weeks. We don’t know the reason for the action from official quarters but information going round indicated that the order came from the above. The report available to the workers showed that the authorities in Abuja asked the PPMC to stop further supply of crude oil to WRPC because the plant is operating at a loss.

A local source told Notch that the refinery was shut down due to a leak in a production line, and that repairs were being initiated. According to this source, the refinery is expected to begin production again in November, at which time the carbon black plant will be restarted with output of about 1,000 tonnes per month of N330 grade.

Carbon black from the unit is being marketed by a company called Intercity Petroleum. Here is a spec sheet on the product. Interested parties should contact the seller directly at

Evonik expanding silica capacity in Japan

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 6:00 am

On Friday, Evonik Industries announced plans to expand its capacity for specialty silicas in Ako, Japan, where the company operates through a joint venture, DSL Japan Co. Ltd. Evonik holds 51% of the venture, with Japan’s Shionogi & Co. Ltd. holding the remainder. The expansion project is budgeted in the “single-digit million euro range” and is scheduled to become operational in 2015. The company did not announce a specific capacity for the plant or the expansion, but the project will increase capacity for SIPERNAT brand silicas used in batteries, silicones, engineered rubber goods, and coatings. This project is one part of a global expansion plan for silica that Evonik has been implementing for several years, including a 30% increase in global capacity from 2010 to 2014, according to the company. Evonik is expanding silica capacity at a plant in Chester, PA in 2014, and a new plant in Brazil is scheduled for start-up in 2016. Evonik’s global capacity for precipitated silica, fumed silica, and matting agents was 550,000 metric tons in 2014.

Here is the full press release.

August 27, 2014

Cancarb adds thermal black distributor in Turkey

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 4:24 pm

Cancarb Limited announced today that it has appointed Özzsahin Sun’Í Kösele Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S. as its Turkish distributor of Thermax® medium thermal carbon blacks effective September 1, 2014. Previously Cancarb’s Turkish distributor for more than 25 years was Teknik Servis, owned and operated by semi-retiring co-founders Tugrul Sirel and Metin Tüfekcioglu. “Ozsahin brings to the table over 70 years of experience in the rubber industry,” said Dave Petrie, President of Cancarb. “This wealth of knowledge coupled with the support of key personnel from Cancarb’s previous distributor Teknik Servis Ltd. will assure a smooth transition and allow us to continue to provide the premium customer experience to which our customers are accustomed.”

Here is the press release.

In April 2014, Japanese carbon black company Tokai Carbon completed an acquisition of Cancarb Limited.

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