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Lanxess introduces new ultra-high molecular weight EPDM as a natural rubber alternative in dynamic applications

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cologne, Germany - At the 2014 International Rubber Expo in Nashville, TN, LANXESS introduced the newly commercialized, ultra-high molecular weight EPDM grade Keltan 9565Q, which LANXESS believes will successfully replace natural rubber in dynamic applications. Increasingly sophisticated automotive and industrial applications require improved high temperature performance which natural rubber, known to degrade quickly at elevated temperatures, cannot provide. "Keltan 9565Q with its tailored molecular structure matches the strength and resilience of natural rubber, while also maintaining these superior properties after high temperature exposure," explains Niels van der Aar, Head of Technical Service & Application Development for LANXESS Keltan Elastomers business. "That high temperature resistance also enables Keltan 9565Q to be processed at elevated temperatures, thus improving molding productivity and reducing costs," says van der Aar. "The saturated polymer backbone gives EPDM its superior ozone, UV, and heat resistance properties. Taking advantage of these benefits has long been of interest for dynamic applications, but only now with Keltan 9565Q does EPDM also offer the strength, fatigue resistance, and resilience achieved by natural rubber at lower temperatures," van der Aar concludes. EPDM, which LANXESS offers under the brand name Keltan, is used for the manufacture of door sealants, hoses, belts or anti-vibration parts. The product is also used in plastic modification, wire and cable, construction and oil additives. - * Email

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RheinChemie

Producers, users, equipment suppliers, specifiers, and more at Smithers Rapra’s Carbon Black World 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Falmouth, ME - More than 275 feedstock producers, carbon black manufacturers, equipment solution providers and tyre and pigment end-users from around the globe will gather at Smithers Rapra’s Carbon Black World 2014, 20-22 October in Barcelona, Spain. Cabot, Birla Carbon, Cooper Tire, and many other notable players will be sharing insights into new technologies and global markets including Russia, China, Ukraine, Europe, US, India and the Middle East. "Carbon Black World is an excellent venue to stay attuned in order to make better decisions for your business, said Bill Jones, President, Sid Richardson Carbon & Energy Co. and program advisor of Carbon Black World. “The conference covers all the factors which might have an impact on your business. These factors include raw material supply issues, customer and competitor growth, regulatory issues, new technology development and macro-economic issues." “Birla Carbon likes to attend Carbon Black World 2014 to interface with high level executives and leading scientists and engineers,” added Ricky Magee, Director, RCB Technical Services and Quality Systems at Birla Carbon and Carbon Black World program advisor. “Whether you are addressing your company’s business plans or seeking the latest product and process innovations, you can find it all under one roof." The 2014 programme will be simultaneously translated into Mandarin, courtesy of significant support and industry stewardship by Wei Zhenwen, President, Doright Co., Ltd., resulting in the largest Chinese delegation ever at Carbon Black World. Programme topics include global insights; micro and micro stressors thrust upon Carbon Black stakeholders by the automotive industry including global future demands and technical standardisation in tyres; ever-changing environmental emissions regulations; and more. The schedule will include over 10 networking functions, among them a live Flamenco show courtesy of Birla Carbon and an optional day tour of Barcelona sponsored by Doright. Organisations presenting at Carbon Black World 2014 include ARVOS Gmbh; Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association; Cabot Corporation; China Carbon Black Institute; Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.; Notch Consulting Group; Phillips Carbon Black; Pirelli Tyre SpA; RÜTGERS; Sid Richardson Carbon & Energy Co; Smithers Rapra NA; and others. Carbon Black World’s sold-out exhibit hall will feature leading organizations such as Continental Industrie; Ekstrom & Son; Mars Mineral; Arvos Group; and many more. - * Email

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McLube

Nanotronics unveils computer controlled microscope nSPEC 3D in Nashville

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nashville, TN - Nanotronics Imaging unveiled its latest computer-controlled microscope, the nSPEC® 3D at the 2014 International Elastomer Conference organized by the American Chemical Society in Nasheville, Tennessee. Designed for sophisticated industrial use, the nSPEC® 3D combines high quality optical lenses with advanced computer pattern recognition algorithms, custom 3D-printed hardware, and artificial intelligence to capture nanoscale 3D images, including quantitative results and structure classification with a single mouse click or gesture. “Our solution will allow a host of industries, including industrial materials, semiconductors, and even biopharmaceuticals, to access sophisticated imaging that can improve their ability to produce and manipulate advanced materials quickly and efficiently,” said Nanotronics Imaging CEO Matthew Putman. The nSPEC® 3D was initially developed to address common challenges faced when performing high throughput imaging of complex materials in factories–namely the inability to capture repeatable topography maps and automatically interpret features in the 3D image. Through a convergence of imaging techniques, available hardware advances and the emergence of real-time analysis, the nSPEC® 3D will allow users to capture and deliver nanoscale insights in a way that is accessible, understandable and actionable at a fraction of the cost compared to alternative technologies. Flow Polymers, a leading manufacturer of proprietary and custom chemical dispersions, process aids and homogenizing agents for tire, automotive, industrial products, wire and cable and plastics markets, has been an early user of the product for improving performance and ease of its chemical dispersions. “For three decades, Flow Polymers has produced additives and rubber chemical dispersions to improve mix quality and compound properties,” said Michael Ivany, CEO of Flow Polymers. “We are excited by Nanotronics Imaging’s development of the nSPEC® 3D, as this instrument has the potential to help the industry optimize product performance, service life and uniformity. Until now we have not been able to identify an instrument that could adequately quantify the quality of mix.” A radical departure from traditional laboratory instruments, the nSPEC® 3D was designed by renowned New York designers Mari Kussman and Francis Bitonti, who worked closely with the Nanotronics team to push the boundaries of functionality and agility. Mari Kussman and Francis Bitonti, renowned designers from New York fabricated the nSPEC® 3D along with the Nanotronics team. The team demonstrated the microscope by manipulating the 3D landscapes of elastomer samples using Leap Motion gesture control and Oculus Virtual Reality, at the conference. - * Email

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Indonesia's Business Competition Supervisory Commission is investigation nine tire manufacturers for price fixing

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bandung, Indonesia - Business Competition Supervisory Commission (KPPU) head M.Nawir Messi said the commission was investigating nine car tire manufacturers allegedly involved in cartel practices. “Most of the manufacturers are foreign companies that have factories in Indonesia,” he said on Monday. Messi said the manufacturers set prices of 13-, 14- and 15-inch tires higher in Indonesia than in markets outside the country. “Their selling prices in Singapore and other markets are between 20 and 25 percent lower than in Indonesia even though they are made here,” said Messi. The KPPU says that preliminary hearings have begun in similar cases implicating six car tire manufacturers that are members of the Indonesian Tire Producers Association (APBI). They are accused of fixing prices of four-wheel passenger vehicle products. The producers are PT Bridgestone Tire Indonesia, PT Sumi Rubber Indonesia, PT Gajah Tunggal, PT Goodyear Indonesia, PT Elang Perdana Tyre Industry and PT Industri Karet Deli. “They are suspected of carrying out cartel practices for 13-, 14-, 15-, and 16-inch ring tires during the period of 2009-2012.” In a hearing led by commissioner Kamser Lumbanradja, investigators presented a number of violations, including that the producers fixed the prices in an APBI meeting. It was reported that during the meeting, all APBI members were requested to present production, export, raw material use and selling reports. They were also requested to control their tire production, which according to the association, was a crucial move to ensure that markets remained favorable. The APBI requested its members to practice self-restraint and not slash prices of their products, saying that if the market was flooded with cheap products, prices would fall, making it difficult for the APBI members to accelerate prices in the future. KPPU investigators suspect that the producers violated Article 5 (1) on price formation and Article 11 on cartel of Law No.5/2009 on the prohibition against monopolistic practices and unfair business competition. Messi said the KPPU proposed increases in fines to Rp 500 billion (US$40.97 million) from Rp 25 billion. “This is what we are proposing in the amendment to the 2009 law,” he said. (ebf) - * Email

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Kerala increases natural rubber prices paid to rubber farmers

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thiruvanananthapuram, India - Alarmed by the trend of farmers leaving rubber cultivation, the Kerala government has hiked its natural rubber procurement price by Rs 3 a kg, a hike of 150%. The state cabinet on Wednesday decided to procure rubber from farmers at R5 more than the market price for a kg. Earlier, it was being procured at R2. “Kerala government will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to apprise the Centre of the crisis developing in the rubber sector and to suggest quick intervention measures,” chief minister Oommen Chandy said after the cabinet meeting. A seven-minister delegation will accompany the CM to convince Modi of the market issues faced by rubber growers, the need to hike import tariffs on natural rubber and the possibility of making rubberised bitumen mandatory in the construction of national highways. A recent fall in prices has caused distrust among rubber growers and eroded their confidence that it is a lucrative crop, forcing most small farmers to stop tapping rubber trees. The domestic price of RSS-4 grade has fallen to R120 per kg. This has reflected in Rubber Board of India’s production and stocks data for September. From 80,000 tonnes in September 2013, rubber production has tumbled to 60,000 tonnes in September 2014, marking a 25% fall in output. Stock position too is not comforrtable. Compared to 223,000 tonnes in September 2013, the stock position in Sepetember 2014, is down by 10% at 200,000 tonnes. “The mark-up of R2 was hardly satisfactory. Besides, the procurement process was staggered and the payment often delayed,” said Sibi Monipally, secretary, Indian Rubber Growers Association (IRGA). Meanwhile, the trend of rubber farmers turning to other crops has become an issue. The bulletin of the Kuala Lumpur-based Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries indicates that the NR output growth of the world’s biggest rubber-producing country, Thailand, could halve in 2014 and that in Vietnam farmers have been refraining from tapping and felling rubber trees. “As a commercial crop Indian farmers too are turning away. This will impact supply and ramp up imports,” ssaid Josekutty Antony, president, Rubber Nursery Owners Association. - * Email

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Solvay CEO to lead Cefic

Monday, October 20, 2014

Paris, France - Solvay CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu was elected President of Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council. Mr Clamadieu will take over the leadership from BASF Chairman Kurt Bock, who completed his successful two-year term. In his first address as Cefic President, Mr Clamadieu outlined his goals for the next two years during the chemical trade body’s annual meeting in Paris. He stressed it was vital for Europe’s 29,000 chemical companies and their 1.2 million employees to stay competitive. Overall investment in European chemical production is falling and some European industrial value chains are at risk. “If present trends are to be reversed, European authorities should ensure that all EU policies and initiatives take full account of the world’s economic realities and underpin the aim of increasing Europe’s competitiveness. We welcome the new European Commission’s priorities for growth and jobs creation which we hope will be backed by the European Council and European Parliament,” said Mr Clamadieu. Sector faces unprecedented competitive pressure Mr Clamadieu takes the reins at Cefic as chemical industry growth in emerging regions and in the United States continues to outpace expansion in the European Union. EU chemical production is expanding slowly, but its share of global chemical sales has more than halved over the last 20 years, to below 17 per cent. In addition, while the EU chemical trade surplus reached a €48.7 billion record in 2013, a bright spot for the sector, it is narrowing due to a slowdown in global demand and the U.S. shale gas boom. Net EU chemical exports for the first half of this year fell by €1.9 billion compared with the same period last year. Europe’s chemical sector faces several competitiveness issues, led by high energy and feedstock prices as well as an inconsistency in and lack of EU energy and industrial policies. New challenges lie ahead with the adoption of ambitious climate and energy targets in the years to 2030. Moreover, regulations are running up costs for the industry, hindering innovation in Europe and putting it at a disadvantage against rival regions. “We support and share the EU’s goal to move towards a more sustainable and thriving economy, but our industry can only fully partake if the path towards this goal is affordable. Instead of a high-cost approach, we call on the EU to create incentives to safeguard and ensure the chemical industry’s crucial role in coming up with innovative products and technologies. This will stimulate innovation, lead to new jobs and re-invigorate growth,” concluded Mr Clamadieu. - * Email

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Michelin subsidiary Tigar Tyres opens second plant in Serbia

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pirot, Serbia - The second Tigar Tyres plant in Pirot, Serbia is now open. An official inauguration was held at the facility on 9 October, and this culminated in Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Jean-Dominique Senard, CEO of parent company the Michelin Group, signing the first tire to roll off the production line. The inauguration marked the completion of the first part of two-phase project. Investment has so far reached €215 million, and the 56,000 square metre facility will be capable of producing between 8 million and 12 million tyres in its phase one incarnation. Some 500 people will be employed at the new plant, increasing the Tigar workforce to around 2,600 to 2,700. A second phase of investment will see a further €165 million spent to increase passenger car tyre capacity at the plant from 12 million to 20 million units a year. When phase two work is complete, the Tigar site in Pirot will become the second largest Michelin facility in Europe. The Pirot site produces car, light commercial vehicle and two-wheeler tyres under the Michelin, Tigar, Riken, Kormoran, Orium, Strial and Taurus brand names. When Michelin announced its plan to expand capacity in Pirot back in April 2012, it said the investment project was “in line with Michelin’s growth strategy as it enables the Group to strengthen its offering of entry-level tyres.” It commented that this particular tyre market segment was expected to grow by 30 per cent globally over the coming ten years. In addition to its flagship brand, Michelin is already amply represented in the tier two and tier three segments of the market by its Kleber, Tigar, BFGoodrich, Kormoran, Riken, Taurus and Warrior (manufactured in China by joint venture facility Double Coin Group (Anhui) Warrior Tires Co) brand names. However it seems there may still be room for another brand at the lower end of the spectrum. Speaking with FranceInfo last week, Jean-Dominique Senard commented that Michelin may consider adding a new entry-level brand in the Asia region if a suitable opportunity arises. - * Email

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