News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

April 18, 2014

Tokai Carbon completes acquisition of Cancarb Ltd.

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 10:34 am

On April 15, Tokai Carbon Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) completed its acquisition of Cancarb Limited (Alberta, Canada) from TransCanada. The purchase price was C$190 million. Tokai Carbon is a leading producer of furnace black, with factories in Japan, China and Thailand. Cancarb is the world’s leading producer of thermal black, which it offers under the Thermax brandname.

April 14, 2014

Tiremakers continue to invest in the United States

Filed under: Carbon Black, insoluble sulfur, Rubber Chemicals, Tire Cord, Tires — Notch @ 6:05 am

Tire Business has an overview of the current slate of tire plant expansions underway or planned for the United States. This includes major projects by Bridgestone, Continental, Hankook, Michelin, Toyo, and Yokohama. The article confirms industry rumors that Korean tiremaker Kumho Tire USA Inc. plans to restart a long-stalled project to build a new tire plant in Georgia. Notch Consulting is tracking $4.5 billion in new investment in tire capacity in the United States from 2012 through 2020.

Bridgestone Americas launches new DriveGuard line of run-flat tires for replacement market

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 6:00 am

Tire Business has details on the launch of a new line of self-supporting run-flat tires from Bridgestone Americas. The company launched the new line, called DriveGuard, on April 3 at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin during a ride-and-drive event for dealers and journalists. The launch is interesting for several reasons. First, the new tires are intended as mass-market replacement tires for use on coupes, sedans and wagons with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) but that were not originally equipped with run-flat tires. Previously, the vast majority of replacement sales for run-flats were for cars in which run-flats were factory-installed. Secondly, Bridgestone is marketing the run-flats very heavily to women, whom Bridgestone believes will take a natural interest in the tire’s safety and convenience advantages. Bridgestone has enlisted actress Julie Bowen from Modern Family as its official spokesperson for Driveguard and is spending heavily on advertising on female-skewing shows such as The Bachelor and Nashville. DriveGuard tires are available in the U.S. and Canada and come with a 50,000- to 60,000-mile treadwear warranty. They are available in 32 sizes in 15- to 19-inch rim diameters and 35 to 65 series. Here is a video of the launch presentation by Robert Saul, product planning manager of Bridgestone Americas.

March 20, 2014

Smithers Rapra announces details for Carbon Black World 2014 in Barcelona

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 6:15 pm

Smithers Rapra has announced details for the 13th edition of the Carbon Black World 2014 conference. Taking place 20-22 October, 2014 at Hesperia Tower in Barcelona, Spain, this event will be specifically crafted to forge deeper connections between feedstock producers, carbon black manufacturers, equipment solution providers, and tire and pigment end-users, while exploring critical issues like feedstocks, end-user perspectives, technology advancements and the latest projects. The 2014 program is designed to address critical issues in the FCC/Decant/Coal Tar/ECR feedstock markets, material quality assessment in manufacturing, theoretical and applied research in carbon black technology, innovations in machine & tooling solutions, sustainability, recycling, pyrolysis and recovery, and above all else the key drivers, stressors and opportunities as driven by major end-users. Chaired by Dr. James A. Popio, Vice President and General Manager, Smithers Rapra, Inc. and Ricky Magee, Director, RCB Technical Services and Quality Systems, Birla Carbon, Carbon Black World will bring together the top experts in the industry to provide updates on growth areas, regulations, global markets and more.

“Through our previous Carbon Black events and last year’s inaugural The Future of Tire Technology, Smithers Rapra has focused on delivering attendees real solutions. By dissecting the macro and micro stressors the automotive industry and regulatory agencies have thrust upon Carbon Black stakeholders, we ensure that these gatherings provide deeply relevant content and unrivaled business opportunity,” says Conference Director Andrew T. Smaha. “Come to Carbon Black World 2014 ready to connect with an even greater global network of customers and colleagues than ever before – we anticipate this year’s audience to exceed 250 users, specifiers, equipment suppliers and producers of carbon black. For the first time in four years, we’ll be bringing this event back to Europe and the initial response from the global carbon black community has been tremendous.”

Abstracts are currently being accepted for papers. Send your name, qualifications and proposed presentation title to Andrew Smaha at or +1 207 781 9635 if you are an industry expert who can provide an engaging, knowledgeable, and exciting presentation regarding aspects of the carbon black supply chain.
Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities also are available.

March 14, 2014

Evonik opens silica expansion in Thailand

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 4:44 pm

Evonik Industries announced today officially opened its precipitated silica expansion in Map ta Phut, Thailand. The new capacity will serve the automotive (tire), food, animal feed, and paint/coatings industries. Evonik did not provide specific numbers of the size of the expansion.

The Thai plant is a joint venture between Evonik Industries and Oriental Siam Company. Production began in 1990 and Evonik became the majority shareholder in 1999.

Here is the press release.

February 24, 2014

Notch updates report on insoluble sulfur

Filed under: insoluble sulfur — Notch @ 6:00 am

Notch Consulting is pleased to announce the publication of World Markets for Insoluble Sulfur, a new report covering the global outlook for insoluble sulfur (IS), a non-blooming vulcanizing agent used in rubber components requiring a high degree of stickiness or tack, particularly radial tires, belting, and hoses. This report was last published in June 2009 but will be updated annually from now on. This 47-page report includes 10 tables detailing IS demand by region, market, and grade, as well as pricing, production capacity, expansion projects, and annual sales by company. The report is presented in PDF format and includes a separate Excel spreadsheet providing extensive supplemental data, including details on tire plant expansions worldwide. The report provides annual IS demand for all years from 2005 through 2012, as well as forecasts for 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2020. Volume demand is provided in tonnes and is broken out by major market (passenger tires, truck tires, all other tires, and non-tire rubber goods). Demand is also provided by region for major grades: standard, HS (high thermal stability), and HD (high dispersability).

Contact Notch Consulting at info AT for details or to order the report.

Hankook to begin construction of US plant

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 5:55 am

Rubber and Plastics News reports that Hankook Tire plans to break ground later this year on its first factory in the US, a passenger and light truck tire plant in Clarksville, Tennessee. Once groundbreaking takes place the plant should take about 18 months to complete, putting in on-stream in 2016. The plant is budgeted at $800 million, and will have an initial capacity of 6 million tires/year, rising to 11 to 12 million tires/year in a second phase. Byeong Jin Lee, president of Hankook Tire America Corp., announced the schedule at Hankook’s Partners Day in Jamaica on Feb. 18. The plant will be the largest tenant at the Clarksville Business Park.

Conti opens Sumter tire plant with ramp up through 2017

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 5:50 am

On January 28, Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (CTA) officially celebrated the opening of its new $500 million tire plant in Sumter, South Carolina. The first phase of the plant will reach a production capacity of approximately five million units per year in 2017. A second phase is expected to bring the plant’s full production capacity to approximately eight million units per year by 2021. The plant is expected to create about 1,600 new jobs. Tire production is expected to total some 800,000 units in 2014, ramping up thereafter.

President Obama orders tighter fuel economy standards for medium/heavy trucks

Filed under: Auto — Notch @ 5:45 am

President Obama has directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration along with the US Environmental Protection Agency to begin developing the next phase of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The proposed standard is due in March 2015, while the final rule is due March 2016, according to a Feb. 18 White House statement. A previous Obama administration standard imposed the first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, implemented on model years 2014 through 2018.

February 19, 2014

How about a nod to the tires?

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 6:40 am

The video below was posted to Digg with the following description:

What happens when 120 tons of landing Boeing 767 encounters severe turbulence just above the runway? You get to see the incredible strength of modern engineering. Watch the wings flex and the landing gear absorb the shock.

After watching the video, especially 1:00 to 1:10, I’d like to add that the landing gear is only as good as the tires, and these tires do their job very very well. For the record, Bridgestone is the OEM supplier for the Boeing 767.

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