News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

October 1, 2015

Cancarb hires European Marketing Manager

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 1:41 pm

Cancarb Limited, the world’s leading producer of medium thermal black, announced today that it has hired a new Manager of European Marketing, Mr. Robert Sikora. Mr. Sikora, who earned a BS in Biochemistry at King’s University in Edmonton, will be responsible for market development and distribution of Thermax medium thermal carbon black in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Here is the full press release.

Solvay details silica expansion plans

Filed under: Silica — Notch @ 1:28 pm

European Rubber Journal has an article (subscription required) that details Solvay’s two-year expansion program for its precipitated silica capacity. The program includes a new plant in Poland, which started up this year, as well as a new plant in Korea that is set for startup in 2016. The new capacity is being driven by tire applications due to tire labeling requirements, higher fuel economy ratings for cars and trucks, and efforts by automakers to reduce the carbon footprint of their vehicles. Some of the additional capacity will be dedicated to Efficium, which was launched in February and offers higher productivity and flexibility in manufacturing passenger-car and truck tires, according to Solvay. Together, the new plants in Poland and Korea will add 185 KTPY of new capacity to Solvay’s silica business.

September 25, 2015

New self-repairing rubber does not require vulcanization

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 4:52 pm

According to a report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, scientists have developed a new tire-grade rubber that does not require vulcanization. The new rubber, though unproven as yet in real world conditions, has the potential to repair itself over time.

Using a new simple process that avoids vulcanization altogether, the researchers chemically modified commercial rubber into a durable, elastic material that can fix itself over time. Testing showed that a cut in the material healed at room temperature, a property that could allow a tire to mend itself while parked. And after 8 days, the rubber could withstand a stress of 754 pounds per square inch. Heating it to 212 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 10 minutes accelerated the repair process. The researchers say their product could be further strengthened by adding reinforcing agents such as silica or carbon black.

September 4, 2015

Omsk Carbon Group expands distribution in Europe and Canada

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

Omsk Carbon Group, Russia’s largest carbon black producer, recently changed the name of its Germany subsidiary from Omsk Carbon Germany to Omsk Carbon Europe GmbH. The change indicates a shift in focus toward the entire European market, particularly Italy, France, and the UK. Omsk Carbon Europe was established in 2012 in Waltrop, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. In addition to the new name, beginning in 2016, Omsk Carbon Europe will be responsible for all European activities of the group and will coordinate the sales and distribution chain in Europe.

In Canada, Omsk Carbon Group established a new subsidiary, Omsk Carbon Canada, in 2014 in Prescott, Ontario, close to the US border. The transloading station received its first shipment of carbon black from Russia in September 2014. Omsk Carbon Canada was established with the aim of organizing and providing direct official customer service in Canada.

August 31, 2015

Notch updates Carbon Black World Data Book

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 2:45 pm

This month, Notch Consulting published the 2015 edition of the Carbon Black World Data Book, the most widely read and authoritative report on the $16 billion global carbon black industry. Published annually and updated quarterly, this 355-page report provides extensive proprietary data on carbon black supply and demand. The report provides detailed coverage for 26 leading countries, as well as demand for 16 smaller national markets. Historical data are provided for all years from 2004 through 2014, with forecasts for all years through 2020, as well as 2025. Data provided for each country and region include carbon black capacity by company and plant, capacity utilization, production, imports, exports, demand, markets (passenger car tires, truck/bus tires, other tires, non-tire rubber, and specialty blacks), grades (tread, carcass, and other), as well as market value and average pricing. The report is provided in printable PDF format and includes a separate Excel spreadsheet with substantial additional data. Contact Notch Consulting at for more information or to order.

Notch updates report covering global rubber chemicals market

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 1:01 pm

This month, Notch Consulting published a new edition of the Rubber Chemicals Market Update, an annual overview of the global rubber chemicals industry. This report provides current conditions and future prospects for antidegradants (6PPD/IPPD, TMQ, and other antioxidants), accelerators, and other chemicals (including tackifiers, adhesion promoters, reinforcing resins, retarders and antiscorch agents, homogenizing agents, peptizers, and blowing agents). The new issue is 39 pages with 19 tables. As always, the report includes a separate Excel spreadsheet that provides regional demand data, production capacity for leading suppliers, and a list of recent and proposed capacity expansions. The report also provides an overview of the tire and rubber industry, including a status report on recent and proposed expansions in tire plant capacity. The new edition also provides rubber chemical sales by company and major product segment. Contact Notch at for more information or to order.

August 24, 2015

Four US carbon black producers announce price increases

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 4:59 pm

I’m late to this news due to summer vacation, but over the last several weeks, four of the five carbon black producers in the United States announced price increases. One primary driver for these increases is the widening differential between Platts prices used as the basis for formula contracts and the actual laid-in cost of feedstock. Another driver has been high inflation and currency volatility in South America. Details of each announcement are below.

Company: Cabot Corporation – Reinforcing Materials
Date of announcement: July 30, 2015
Effective: September 1, 2015 or as customer contracts allow.
Increase: NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement): 4%;
South America: 2%;
EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa): 7%;
ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations): 6%;
Japan: 6%;
In addition to these increases, Cabot is making an additional price adjustment of 14% in South America to account for the impact of local currency devaluation and cost increases in Brazil and Colombia. Cabot is also modifying all pricing formulas in those countries to mitigate future currency fluctuations.
Rationale: “In most regions, carbon black producers utilize oil-derived feedstocks that are specifically selected for the production of carbon black. Historically, certain fuel oil indices have been used as a proxy for the cost of these feedstocks, and Cabot’s costs have typically tracked to these indices over time. However, the actual costs of carbon black feedstocks relative to fuel oil indices have been rising. This widening difference between the indices and actual costs has persisted since early this year, and is forecasted to continue into the future.”

Company: Cabot Corporation – Specialty Carbons
Date of announcement: August 17, 2015
Effective: September 17, 2015, or as contracts allow
Increase: Up to 6% globally
Rationale: “This price increase is required due to escalating operating, logistics, currency devaluation and environmental compliance costs.”

Company: Orion Engineered Carbons
Date of announcement: August 6, 2015
Effective: September 15, 2015
Increase: Asia Region: 7%;
EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa: 8%
North America: 6%
South America: 12%
NOTE: These increases are in addition to the applicable raw material adjustments. Further adjustments may be applied for certain special Rubber Black grades.
Rationale: “Over the past several quarters Orion has experienced increased feedstock costs relative to the reference indices commonly used in the pricing of carbon black . . . These cost differentials are expected to continue due to increasing demand for these raw materials and lower availability of feedstocks of suitable quality. In addition to feedstock cost pressures, Orion has experienced extreme currency volatility in Brazil . . . therefore, our prices in local currency for product sold in South America require larger increases.”

Company: Birla Carbon
Date of announcement: July 31, 2015
Effective: October 1, 2015, or as supply agreements are renewed
Increase: 10%-12% for all rubber carbon blacks in North America
Rationale: “This measure is necessary to ensure the sustainability of our business and to make continued investment in processes and product possible.”

Company: Sid Richardson Carbon & Energy
Date of announcement: August 7, 2015
Effective: October 1, 2015
Increase: $0.04/pound for all spot purchases. For customers purchasing under annual contracts, current formulas will be honored until the agreement expires.
Rationale: Though not included in the announcement, a Sid spokesperson indicated that the increase was based primarily on the cost of reinvestment in the business, including hopper cars.

August 23, 2015

Tianjin photos show blast devastation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Notch @ 4:20 pm

Quartz has some astounding high-rez photos of the aftermath of the Tianjin blast earlier this month that killed an estimated 85 people. The deadly explosion devastated one of China’s busiest ports, and the full economic, social, and human costs of the disaster are still being tallied. We are still in the process of determining the extent to which the disaster will affect the tire, rubber, carbon black and chemical sectors in the near and long term.


Photo: Quartz

July 21, 2015

Carbon Black China conference scheduled for March 2016 in Hainan

Filed under: Carbon Black, Conferences — Notch @ 7:13 pm

Carbon Black China 2016 will be held at the Hainan New Yantai Hotel in Haikou, Hainan province from March 18 through 22, 2016. CBC is held in China every other year (the 2013 conference was held in Kunming). This will be the 15th session for this prestigious conference, which is always comprehensive, well organized, and well attended. Notch will present a keynote address at the conference. More information as details are released. Hainan is China’s southernmost province, a tropical island in the South China Sea.



July 18, 2015

Hankook completes ride and handling tests for non-pneumatic tire for passenger cars

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 1:27 pm

This week, Hankook TIre announced it has successfully completed its ride and handling tests for its latest non-pneumatic tire (NPT), iFlex. Hankook has been researching NPT technologies since 2011, and the iFlex is the fifth NPT concept tire that Hankook has released.

According to Hankook:

The company put the iFlex through a serious of rigorous tests designed to push the tires to their limits in five categories: durability, hardness, stability, slalom (zigzag) and speed. In the speed test, the electric car equipped with iFlex tires reached 130km/h. The impressive results in all five categories demonstrated that the NPTs could match conventional tires in terms of performance. At the same time, these results are expected to help the company solidify its position as a global top-tier tire company and, give new momentum to its future-oriented R&D capabilities.

Construction of the iFlex is centered on a new type of uni-material designed to maximize the tire’s eco-friendly potential. From a manufacturing standpoint, the material used during product construction significantly enhances the energy efficiency. From a product standpoint, the material allows the iFlex to be recycled with greater ease. Hankook Tire then went one step further, integrating new tire construction techniques to simplify the manufacturing process from eight stages to just four, thus further reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

This Hankook promotional video from 2013 shows the basic concept:

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