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Michigan Rubber Group to hold annual Focus on Ferris open house in March  

Friday, January 30, 2015

East Lansing, MI - The Michigan Rubber Group announced that it will hold its annual Focus on Ferris Open House on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. The Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society Course, “Introduction to Compounding and Testing of Elastomers,” is being offered from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. The course topics include elastomers, fillers, oils/plasticizers and curing agents. Also discussed will be the mixing and testing of elastomer compounds and how to select an elastomer for a given application. The objectives of the course include opportunities for one-on-one dialog beyond general class interest and providing references/contacts for use as future questions arise. The course instructor is William Stahl of Rainbow Mastermixing, and 0.6 CEUs will be given to attendees. The cost to attend the course is $425 for a Rubber Division ACS member and $500 for a non-member. The cost includes the National Elastomer Center Open House, and the Michigan Rubber Group Social Hour/Dinner at the Holiday Inn in Big Rapids. At this event, The Rubber Division ACS will provide the course free for full time students (must email proof of current semester class schedule to crobinson@rubber.org) The first 20 full-time students to register will also receive the Michigan Rubber Group Social Hour/Dinner free. To register for the course go to www.rubber.org/store, or contact Christie Robinson, MEd, education and publications manager, at crobinson@rubber.org for more information. Hotel Information: Holiday Inn and Conference Center, 1005 Perry Street, Big Rapids, MI 49307; 231-796-4400. Mention group code Michigan Rubber Group to receive the discounted $99 per night rate. After the course ends at approximately 3:00 p.m., The Michigan Rubber Group will conduct its annual self-guided Open House of the National Elastomer Center so that industry attendees can meet the students, see what they are learning in their coursework, talk to them about internships/career placement, enjoy a social hour and dinner with The Michigan Rubber Group, and hear closing remarks by the Rubber Division ACS and the Ferris State University Rubber and Plastics Technology Staff during dinner. The Michigan Rubber Group Open House, Social Hour and Dinner meeting is included in the course fee, but for those not attending the Course, the cost is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Reservations and dietary concerns should be made with Chuck Lenk of Laur Silicone at cdlenk@laursilicone.com. Please support the Rubber Division ACS, The Michigan Rubber Group and the Ferris State University College of Engineering Technology’s Rubber and Plastics Department by attending or otherwise supporting this event. Industry sponsor(s) for the Social Hour would be greatly appreciated. Further information is available at the MRG website www.michiganrubbergroup.com. - * Email

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RheinChemie

Rubber Division, ACS announces call for abstract submissions for the 12th Annual Student Colloquium & Poster Session  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Akron, OH - The Rubber Division, ACS is accepting abstract submissions for the 12th Annual Student Colloquium & Poster Session being held during its International Elastomer Conference, October 12-15, 2015, at the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland, OH. This is a valuable opportunity for students of our industry. Deadline for abstracts is April 21, 2015. Contact Linda McClure at 330-972-7978 or lmcclure@rubber.org for more information about submitting an abstract and presenting a paper at this meeting. General information can also be obtained by accessing the Rubber Division, ACS website at www.rubber.org. - * Email

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McLube

IISRP announces passing of former senior executive  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Houston, TX - The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers, Inc. (IISRP) acknowledges the loss of one of its retired senior executives, Albert Davis, who passed away on January 26, 2015. “Al was the IISRP’s first deputy managing director when the institute was formed in 1960, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1984,” stated James L. McGraw, IISRP managing director and CEO. “I had known Al since the late 1970s when I first became associated with the IISRP, and we had traveled together extensively and I became very close to him and his wife Vivian. My wife Pat and I adored them both and cherished our times at our annual meetings together,” he added. Al’s legacy was his development of IISRP’s Synthetic Rubber Manual, which to this day is the bible of the industry, and the development and management of IISRP’s statistical programs. - * Email

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University of Calgary scientests research natural rubber production in lettuce  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Calgary, Alberta, Canada - The Calgary Herald reports, "The humble lettuce has been shown to hold the key to producing a new form of natural rubber thanks to seven years of painstaking research by scientists at the University of Calgary. Associate professor Dae-Kyun Ro and PhD student Yang Qu, from the university’s department of biological science, made the breakthrough they believe will eventually lessen the world’s need for petrochemicals in the large-scale production of products such as tires. The researchers discovered that once a lettuce plant bolts the elongated stem produces milky latex containing a biopolymer from which they identified a key enzyme that can synthesize natural rubber. Those accepted findings, which were published in the prestigious Journal of Biological Chemistry last week, represent the first natural biosynthetic model for rubber production in more than half a century. “Nobody knew how natural rubber is synthesized in plants so we decided to use lettuce as a model system. We found it produces very high quality natural rubber but of a very low quantity,” said Ro. “When lettuce bolts and you prick the stem with a pin you will find a white, milky liquid. We analyzed this and found that the quality is almost the same as that from the Brazilian rubber tree, which is where natural rubber is found today,” he added. Natural rubber comprises almost half of all the world’s consumption with the rest produced synthetically by the petrochemical industry. Ro said the Brazilian rubber tree is now rare in its native country because of disease with the world’s supply now concentrated in South East Asia. “Replantation occurred in areas such as Indonesia and Thailand, but those countries have only one species and it is located in one geographical area so they are very susceptible for a disease outbreak. If that happens we won’t have a proper supply of natural rubber,” added Ro. Such supply is vital as synthetic rubber made by the petrochemical industry is not as high in quality — for example about 20 per cent of the rubber in a regular car tire needs to be natural to allow for elasticity while high performance tires, such as those on aircraft, need to be almost entirely made of the natural product. “Natural rubber is also carbon neutral. Increasing our use will have significant benefits on the environment by reducing reliance on petrochemicals,” added the Korean-born scientist, who has lived in Calgary for nine years. Though the researchers made the breakthrough using lettuce they believe future commercial production will require a different plant to ensure quantities large enough to make it economically viable. “We cannot grow lettuce in the garden to produce a car tire,” said Ro. In the 1930s, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and the Firestone Tire Company set up a joint business venture to look into producing natural rubber from plants other than the Brazilian rubber tree. They settled upon a Canadian weed called goldenrod because of its high quantity of natural rubber. There was a problem, one that the U of C scientists think their work on lettuce will solve. “The quality from the goldenrod plant was very low. But we have identified the important genes from the lettuce and we can make the goldenrod produce high quality rubber and we can grow that in Canada,” said Ro. There are other rubber producing plants native to Canada, the researchers are keen to do more work on the dandelion, which contains rubber in the root. They are also hoping to produce a prototype plant that is commercially viable both in quality and quantity within five to ten years. “The question is ‘can you produce natural rubber for a cheap cost.’ That is challenging. Quantity and yield are important if we want to compete commercially with synthetic rubber,” said Ro, who credits his student Qu with doing 80 per cent of the work leading to the breakthrough." - * Email

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Dow reports fourth quarter and full year results  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Midland, MI - The Dow Chemical Company reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.85, or $0.63 on an as-reported basis. This compares with adjusted earnings of $0.65 per share in the year-ago period, or $0.79 per share on an as-reported basis. The company reported adjusted EBITDA of $2.4 billion, or EBITDA of $2.1 billion. Adjusted EBITDA grew 15 percent versus the year-ago period, with increases reported in every operating segment, led by Agricultural Sciences (up 40 percent), Performance Materials & Chemicals (up 18 percent) and Performance Plastics (up 6 percent). Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 218 basis points versus the year-ago period, with increases across all operating segments, as the company’s integration and targeted end-markets enabled continued price stability in a declining raw material environment. Margin expansion was driven primarily by Agricultural Sciences (up 300 basis points), Consumer Solutions (up 279 basis points) and Infrastructure Solutions (up 203 basis points), due primarily to increased demand for advantaged technologies in key end-markets. Dow reported sales of $14.4 billion in the fourth quarter, flat versus the same quarter last year, as volume increased in both developed geographies (up 4 percent) as well as emerging geographies (up 5 percent). Volume gains were offset by price declines driven primarily by Western Europe (down 14 percent), which included currency headwinds. The company expanded volume in most segments, led by Agricultural Sciences (up 9 percent). Double-digit increases in Epoxy and Polyurethanes drove volume gains in Performance Materials & Chemicals (up 7 percent). Demand also rose in Performance Plastics (up 3 percent). Research and Development (R&D) expenses and Selling, General and Administrative (SG&A) expenses together decreased $64 million versus the year-ago period, due to Dow’s focused approach and productivity actions. Dow reported an operating rate of 86 percent for the quarter, up 4 percentage points versus the year-ago period – representing the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year operating rate increases. Gains were driven primarily by steady demand in Performance Plastics, coupled with ongoing productivity improvements in Performance Materials & Chemicals. Cash flow from operations was $2.8 billion for the quarter – an increase of more than $500 million versus the year-ago period, demonstrating the company’s ongoing focus on working capital efficiency. Certain items in the quarter included a gain related to Dow Corning’s implant liability adjustment, a loss related to Dow Corning’s Clarksville, TN, site abandonment, asset impairments and other items. The company reported adjusted equity earnings(7) of $221 million, or $128 million as-reported. This compares with adjusted equity earnings of $264 million, or $254 million on an as-reported basis in the same quarter last year. Dow continued to drive shareholder remuneration actions, returning $1.6 billion to shareholders in the quarter through declared dividends and repurchases, and completing its $4.5 billion repurchase program in the period. This quarter, the Company announced a 14 percent dividend increase and expanded its share buyback program by an additional $5 billion. Dow reported full-year 2014 earnings of $3.11 per share on an adjusted basis, or as-reported earnings of $2.87 per share. This compares with adjusted earnings of $2.48 per share in the prior year, an increase of 25 percent, or $3.68 per share on an as-reported basis. Adjusted EBITDA rose $975 million versus the prior year, reaching a full-year record at $9.3 billion, or $8.9 billion on an as reported basis. Adjusted EBITDA grew in all operating segments. The largest increase was achieved by Performance Plastics, which grew adjusted EBITDA more than $460 million, reflecting the Company’s differentiated product portfolio, diverse markets and global reach. Adjusted EBITDA also rose in Performance Materials & Chemicals, up $225 million, as a result of ongoing steps to enhance productivity. The company expanded adjusted EBITDA margins 140 basis points, with increases reported in all operating segments. Margin expansion was led by Consumer Solutions (up 214 basis points), Performance Plastics (up 168 basis points), and Infrastructure Solutions (up 141 basis points) on increasing demand, productivity improvements and strategic end-market alignment. For the full year, Dow reported sales of $58.2 billion, up 2 percent versus the prior year. Increases were reported in all geographic areas on an adjusted basis. Sales grew in North America, with revenue in the United States up 4 percent due to sales growth across all operating segments. Emerging geographic regions increased sales 4 percent and represented 35 percent of Dow’s total revenue mix. Research and Development (R&D) expenses and Selling, General and Administrative (SG&A) expenses together decreased $18 million on a full-year basis due to Dow’s focused approach and productivity actions. Dow accelerated portfolio management actions throughout the year, with $2 billion in proceeds expected from divestitures of non-strategic assets and businesses signed or completed in 2014. Since 2013, the Company has signed or completed transactions that are expected to generate $2.9 billion in proceeds – demonstrating progress against its previously stated target. The company delivered $6.5 billion of cash flow from operations in 2014, demonstrating Dow’s continued focus on productivity. Excluding the K-Dow award, this reflects a more than $320 million increase versus 2013 – representing a second consecutive year of record cash flow. Dow reported adjusted return on capital of 10.8 percent, which represents a 108 basis point increase versus the prior year. The company reported full-year adjusted equity earnings of $928 million, or $835 million on an as-reported basis. This compares with full-year adjusted equity earnings of $1,044 million, or $1,034 million on an as-reported basis, versus 2013. Certain items in the year included a gain related to Dow Corning’s implant liability adjustment, a loss related to Dow Corning’s Clarksville, TN, site abandonment, asset impairments and other item. - * Email

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Dow Corning's Molykote brand lubrication expert to speak at Base Oils session at OilDoc 2015 Germany  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Midland, MI - An expert in Molykote brand specialty lubricants from Dow Corning Corporation, a global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, will be among the featured presenters at the upcoming OilDoc Conference and Exhibition, scheduled for January 2-29 at KUKO Conference Center in Rosenheim, Germany. Aleksandra Nevskaya, a senior application engineering and technical support professional specializing in lubrication technologies at Dow Corning, will be among the presenters during OilDoc’s Base Oils session from 8:30 to 11 a.m. January 29 in Hall 3. Nevskaya’s segment of the session will feature "High-temperature-resistant silicone fluids with enhanced lubricity characteristics" – a paper she co-authored with Manfred Jungk, Ph.D., a Dow Corning associate industry scientist. According to Nevskaya, the presentation "will compare various silicone structures with organic materials and will focus on the model design of silicones with enhanced lubricity characteristics and excellent temperature resistance." Information about Dow Corning’s full range of specialty lubricants for automotive and industrial applications is available at molykote.com. - * Email

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Lanxess reports 2014 earnings exceeded expectations  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Cologne, Germany - Specialty chemicals company Lanxess expects EBITDA pre exceptionals to be higher than previously anticipated for the fourth quarter and therefore for the fiscal year 2014. Against EUR 735 million reported in fiscal 2013, EBITDA pre exceptionals for fiscal 2014 is expected to increase to around EUR 808 million. The fourth quarter 2014 result is expected at around EUR 154 million EBITDA pre exceptionals. Basis for the improved earnings was a stronger than originally anticipated demand in December. Matthias Zachert, chairman of the board of management of Lanxess AG, said: “In autumn, we were witnessing restrained orders due to customer destocking in the rubber business in light of falling oil prices. Surprisingly, this development was considerably less strong in December”. Additionally, Lanxess profited from lower raw material costs in the Advanced Intermediates segment. Earnings in the Performance Chemicals segment came in at the expected level. Lanxess will release final results for fiscal 2014 on March 19, 2015. All figures provided in this release are preliminary and unaudited. - * Email

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Book of the day - Cost Reduction in Rubber Processing  

Friday, January 30, 2015

Akron, OH - New book in the Rubber World book store -"Cost Reduction in Rubber Processing" Editor: Hans-Joachim Graf Pages: 286 Hardbound Publisher: TechnoBiz Communications Co., Ltd. ISBN: 978-616-90836-9-6 Year: March 2014 Book Price: $250 plus S&H BOOK CONTENTS Section 1: General considerations Section 2: Raw materials Section 3: Machinery and molds Section 4: Processing and parts Section 5: Automation and simulation Section 6: Latex processing Visit Rubber World's bookstore for more information. - * Email

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Interbusiness Group is a UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 certified leader in the manufacture and distribution of INTERCURE® accelerators, vulcanizing agents and curing agents for special elastomers. Family-owned and founded in 1985 to cater to a niche market, we are headquartered in Milan, Italy (Interbusiness S.r.l.), with a technical operations facility in Brindisi, Italy (IB Chem S.r.l.), and a network of globally positioned independent distributors. Our sister company in New York (INTERBUSINESS U.S.A., INC.) distributes throughout North America. Interbusiness is dedicated to excellence in products and services, manufacturing efficiencies, quality systems, increasing value to our customers, and environmental protection.

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