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Bridgestone China opens truck and bus tire plant in Shenyang, China

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shenyang, China - Bridgestone China, subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company, held the opening ceremony of its Truck and Bus Radial (TBR) Tire plant in Shenyang, China, on September 24. Kazuhisa Nishigai, COO and representative board member of Bridgestone Corporation, who was present to officiate the facility’s opening, shared that, “China is one of Bridgestone’s key markets, with a huge demand for TBR tires. We aim to develop our Shenyang plant into one of Bridgestone’s key plants, to contribute to the growth of the local market and customers’ needs.” The Shenyang plant was originally constructed in 1999 and was Bridgestone Group’s first tire manufacturing plant in China. The plant is ISO 9002 and ISO 14001 certified, with products meeting international standards for quality assurance and environmental management system, and operations that received good evaluations on its production management systems respectively. Through this relocation, Bridgestone plans to build on the plant’s outstanding track record to improve its production structure, while continuing to manufacture high quality tires. Bridgestone Group aims to develop systems to enhance the organization’s speed-to-market, to more rapidly meet consumer demand for its products. - * Email

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RheinChemie

Indian rubber farmers worry over fall of rubber prices

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Thiruvananthapuram, India - The Economic Times reports, "The persistent fall in the price of natural rubber has caused concern among rubber farmers in Kerala, which accounts for more than 94 percent of the commodity's total production in the country. Rubber price, which ruled around Rs 220 per kg in January 2011, has now touched a low of Rs 123 per kg in the domestic market due to lower demand for the commodity in the wake of general economic slowdown and lower price in international market. Stakeholders in the industry have sought the Center and state government's immediate intervention to arrest a further fall in the price of rubber. The continuing slowdown in demand from the domestic tire industry, which consumes over 50 percent of the total natural rubber production in the country coupled with a bearish trend in overseas market, is adding to the pressure on prices, according to rubber experts. With prices becoming unremunerative in the face of rising cost of production, mainly because of high wages of tappers and rising cost of fertilizers, growers have also started staying away from production. The state government's scheme of rubber procurement at a higher rate than the daily market price also didn't take place as envisaged, pushing farmers further into trouble, feel experts. However, they pointed out that price would not fall further as off-season for rubber production starts from February. There is also concern among the tire industry that if price falls further, rubber growers might move away from its cultivation which would result in shortfall in supply in the long-run. "We want rubber farmers to start tapping and produce rubber and bring it to market, and government also should ensure a remunerative price for their product," Indian Rubber Dealers Association president George Valy said. The total area under rubber cultivation in Kerala is 5.45 lakh hectares. It is the livelihood of as many as 11.50 lakh farmers and most of them are small holders having less than 1.5 hectares under rubber. Total rubber production in Kerala for the year 2012-13 was eight lakh metric ton. - * Email

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McLube

APS Elastomers celebrates five year anniversary

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Romulus, MI - APS Elastomers, formerly known as Alliance Polymers & Services, celebrated five successful years in business. “These past five years have seen exciting changes, exponential growth and innovate solutions to our customers,” said Stephane Morin, co-owner of APS Elastomers. APS Elastomers was founded by two of the plastic industry’s leading marketing and technical support executives, Roger Huarng and Stephane Morin, in September of 2009. From modest beginnings in a 5,000 square foot building, APS has expanded to a 20,000 square foot warehouse which also houses a 63 mm twin screw extruder dedicated to specialty elastomer compounds. “We are elastomer specialists whose mission remains the same; provide quick, affordable solutions with high performance results,” said Roger Huarng. APS Elastomers provides engineering service, technical support and TPE materials (TPEs, TPVs, TPUs and other soft elastomers) for consumer and industrial applications. “We continue to expand our TPE portfolio by adding new product offerings and aligning ourselves with TPE partners to better serve our customers in North America,” said Stephane Morin. Company offerings have grown to include Maxelast TPEs, Viprene TPVs, Huntsman Polyurethanes' Irogran, and Avalon TPUs, Zythane TPUs, TPE alloys, compounding series, and custom and standard soft elastomer formulations. “Our ability to source material globally, and acquire new products and services insures we provide quality elastomers at the most competitive pricing,” added Stephane Morin. - * Email

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Smithers Rapra announced its official sponsorship of the Association of Rubber Product Manufacturers

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Akron, OH - “The ARPM is excited to introduce Smithers Rapra and its expert testing services as a new membership benefit,” said Troy Nix, executive vice president of ARPM. “Testing for rubber materials and products was one of the key services our members indicated as desirable. This new partnership with Smithers Rapra strengthens the association’s offering and resource pool for our members.” The sponsorship provides special benefits related to Smithers Rapra services for all ARPM members, including product performance testing, analytical and physical material testing, as well as consulting services. For more information about the full range of ARPM member benefits, visit www.arpminc.com. “We are impressed with ARPM’s desire to provide added value to their membership,” said Jesse Roeck, vice president and general manager of Smithers Rapra. “We believe our expertise in rubber and polymer testing services will benefit member companies as they develop innovative, high quality rubber products.” Smithers Rapra operates several laboratories in North America covering a wide variety of testing and consulting services from material chemistry to product durability testing to tire and winter testing. Smithers’ expertise spans several key industry sectors including automotive, tire, rubber and polymer products, aerospace, medical device and pharmaceuticals. For more information about Smithers Rapra, visit www.smithersrapra.com. - * Email

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Wacker Polymers to raise prices of dispersions

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Allentown, PA - Wacker Polymers is to raise its prices for Vinnapas vinyl acetate-ethylene and Vinnol ethylene-vinyl chloride-based copolymer dispersions and dispersible powders in the Americas. Effective November 1, 2014, Wacker will implement a price increase of $0.03 per pound, or as customer contracts allow. This measure has been necessitated by constantly rising raw material costs, in particular for vinyl acetate monomer (VAM). Additionally, a logistics surcharge of $0.02 per pound will be implemented for all shipments effective November 1, 2014. Ongoing high raw material costs, especially for vinyl acetate monomer, a crucial raw material for the manufacturing of Wacker’s dispersions and dispersible powders, necessitate this step. The logistics surcharge is related to increasing freight and distribution cost across the Americas region. The price adjustment enables Wacker Polymers to continue providing customers a wide-range of innovative quality products and comprehensive technical, sales and customer support services. Dispersions and dispersible powders of the Vinnapas and Vinnol brand are applied in a broad variety of industries, ranging from adhesives, construction, nonwovens, paints and coatings to paper, carpet and textiles. - * Email

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Clariant to acquire Chinese healthcare packaging specialist Vitapac

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Muttenz, Germany – Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, announced that it has signed a purchase agreement with VitaPac, a Chinese specialist for healthcare packaging. The owner-led company with 80 employees is based in Hong Kong with a production site in Dongguan, China. It had consolidated sales of about CHF 4. mio in 2013. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter of 2014 and subject to regulatory approvals. VitaPac, founded in 1995, develops and manufactures a full range of high quality protective packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical, neutraceutical and food industries, as well as for the logistics and electronics sectors, mainly in the region of Asia-Pacific (APAC). The company focuses on active sorbents and has built up a leading market position for desiccant packets for moisture adsorption. VitaPac is known for its innovative, technology-driven product lines that address pharmaceutical stability and shelf life. The company maintains a Drug Master File (DMF) with the FDA, and its products comply with all pertinent regulations for use in direct contact with food and drugs. The bolt-on acquisition of VitaPac complements the portfolio of Clariant’s Business Line Medical Specialties within its Business Unit Masterbatches. The agreement will help Clariant to gain increased market share in important emerging markets especially in Asia but also to capture further sales in other regions. The acquired Dongguan plant will enlarge Clariant’s global footprint, furthering the reach to its multinational pharmaceutical customer base. - * Email

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Lanxess subsidiary Bond-Laminates completes expansion of its Tepex plant in Germany

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Brilon, Germany - Lanxess subsidiary Bond-Laminates, that belongs to the business unit High Performance Materials, has completed capacity expansion at its site in Brilon, Germany, for the high-performance composite Tepex on schedule. The two new production plants were recently taken into operation. Altogether, the company now has facilities with a total annual capacity of well over four million square meters Tepex. In addition to a new production hall, further storage areas and office space were also added. “These investments come in response to the rapidly rising demand for Tepex, particularly in the automotive, sports equipment and consumer electronics industries,” said Jochen Bauder, managing director of Bond-Laminates. This capacity expansion comes alongside new developments at the application center in Brilon. By the end of the year, a hybrid molding facility will be installed that will enable Tepex to be formed and over-injected directly with thermoplastics in a single one-shot process. “We want to use this facility to present this manufacturing technology to our customers in the sports and consumer electronics industries in order to support them in the development of innovative applications. We also want to optimize the processing behavior of new composites and customer-specific material recipes,” said Ulrich Jecmeniza, an application developer at Bond-Laminates. Tepex comprises continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. Polyamide, polypropylene, thermoplastic polyurethane, polycarbonate or polyphenylene sulfide is used for the thermoplastic matrix. The continuous-fiber fabrics are made of glass, aramid or carbon fibers. The advantage of Tepex and its products is the high stiffness and strength alongside the very low weight, which means that it can be used in many applications as an alternative to heavier materials such as sheet metal. Application examples include soccer boot soles, racing cycle brake levers, backpack frames, snowboarding and cycle helmets and smartphone, tablet and notebook cases. Tepex is also used in the automotive industry for applications such as lightweight seat shells, front ends, brake pedals, infotainment brackets and engine compartment guard plates. Lanxess and Bond-Laminates are going to showcase Tepex innovations at forthcoming trade fairs in Germany – e.g., at Composite Europe (October 7 - 9, 2014, Düsseldorf), Fakuma (October 14 - 18, 2014, Friedrichshafen) and ITHEC (October 27 - 28, 2014, Bremen). - * Email

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Huntsman to build new world scale MDI plant in Louisiana

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Woodlands, TX - Huntsman Corporation announced that it has commenced preliminary engineering to expand production of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) by investment in a new, world scale MDI plant at its Geismar, Louisiana site. The 400,000 metric ton expansion will leverage the significant advantages of the Geismar site, with its access to U.S. shale gas, strong logistics base and excellent integration. The new capacity is expected to come on-stream in 2018 and will enable Huntsman to further support the growth of its customers worldwide. MDI capacity at the site is currently undergoing an expansion to 500ktes, which is due to come on-stream next year. Huntsman’s 760 acre Geismar site is the largest integrated MDI production facility in the Americas region. MDI based polyurethanes are used in an extensive range of applications and markets, including construction, automotive, coatings and footwear, and provide key benefits of energy efficient insulation, comfort and well-being. Anthony P. Hankins, president of Huntsman Polyurethanes, said: “Shale gas has significantly improved the economics of investing in US facilities and has helped our Geismar facility to establish a strong cost leadership position. The planned additional capacity will reinforce this position and establish the plant as a truly global supplier." “Demand for MDI-based polyurethanes continues to grow at around 8 percent annually. In order to satisfy this demand, Huntsman Polyurethanes has a sustained global program of both upstream and downstream investment to support our customers’ growth ambitions.” In addition to its Geismar facility, Huntsman Polyurethanes operates world scale MDI facilities at its sites in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Shanghai, China. - * Email

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