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India tire manufacturers consider increasing SBR percentages to protect their margins

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mumbai, India - The Business Standard reports, "A rebound in natural rubber prices has prompted tire manufacturers to replace natural rubber with synthetic products to keep their margins intact. Spot polled prices by Ahmedabad-based National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE) showed around a 6 percent increase in the last one week after hitting an over six months low on October 14. NMCE data showed the natural rubber price at Rs 118 a kg on October 14 which shot up to Rs 125 a quintal on October 22. The turnaround in natural rubber price came at a time when synthetic rubber remained stagnant with a downward bias following the trend in crude oil price. Being a derivative of crude oil, synthetic rubber price moves in tandem with crude oil price. Synthetic rubber is currently trading at around a 30-35 percent discount to the natural rubber due to a massive 26 percent fall in crude oil price since the level of $115 a barrel in mid-June. "Until last week, prices of both synthetic rubber and natural rubber were moving hand-in-hand. It was only last week when natural rubber price started moving up without proportionate increase in synthetic rubber prices. If the trend continues, we may think of replacement of natural rubber with synthetic rubber," said a senior official with one of the largest tire manufacturing companies in India. In India, the consumption ratio between natural rubber and synthetic rubber stands at nearly 73:27 against the world ratio of 44:56, which shows over dependence on natural rubber. With the proposed change in the consumption pattern, the blend percentage may favor synthetic rubber. "Yes, replacement of natural rubber with synthetic rubber is possible up to a point as it adds to the cost advantage. Hence, the tire industry may think of using more synthetic rubber if the natural rubber price continues upward move," said M.F. Vohra, chairman and managing director of Zenith Industrial Rubber Products. Styrene butadiene rubber is trading currently at $1,850 a metric ton against $1,650 a metric ton of ribbed smoked sheet (RSS), a rubber raw material. Prices of these commodities have moved in tandem with crude oil price. Non-oil grade SBR average price rose from around $1,925 a metric ton cif China in early July to around $2,050 a metric ton mid-August, before falling to $1,850 a metric ton now. A recent Capital Market study shows raw material accounting for 65-70 of tyre industry's turnover. Tyre manufacturers primarily use natural rubber, synthetic rubber, carbon black and rubber chemical as raw materials. "However, the use of synthetic rubber can be capped with the quality of products. If you want more tensile and strength in tire, synthetic rubber can be a better choice," said Vohra. Tire sector accounts of Rs 35,000 crore of rubber industry's total turnover of Rs 60,000 crore in the financial year 2012-13, while non-tire comprises the remaining. B.K. Bansal, senior vice president (Finance) of Balkrishna Tyres, however, does not favor replacement of natural rubber with synthetic rubber in tire production. "Replacement (of natural rubber with synthetic rubber) comes at the cost of quality which most reputed companies would not like to do," said Bansal. Data compiled by the Rubber Board showed India's natural rubber production at 60,000 metric tons in September 2014 as against 80,000 metric tons in September 2013. Meanwhile, consumption of natural rubber increased marginally by 0.6 percent to 85,500 metric tons as against 85,000 metric tons in the comparable month last year. According to industry sources, the deficit of natural rubber for September stood at 25,500 metric tons. India imported 41,848 metric tons of rubber in September. Between April and September 2014, the imports have gone up by 24 percent to 225,625 metric tons against the same period last year." - * Email

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RheinChemie

AkzoNobel reports positive third quarter results

Friday, October 24, 2014

Amsterdam, The Netherlands - AkzoNobel N.V. reported positive volume growth and, for the fifth consecutive quarter, an improvement in return on sales (ROS) – from 8.0 percent to 9.1 percent. Excluding restructuring costs of €55 million, ROS was 10.6 percent (2013: 10.0 percent). Operating income grew 11 percent to €335 million (2013: €303 million), reflecting the benefits of ongoing operational efficiency programs, although this was partially offset by new restructuring costs in Performance Coatings. Net income attributable to shareholders was €205 million (2013: €155 million), due to higher operating income and lower finance expenses. Revenue for the third quarter declined 2 percent, with volume growth being offset by negative currency effects and divestments. CEO Ton Büchner commented: "AkzoNobel delivered a solid third quarter performance, despite continued economic uncertainty. Return on sales improved for the fifth consecutive quarter to 9.1 percent, while operating income grew by 11 percent. Conditions continue to be challenging, but we have a resilient strategy focused on stimulating organic and sustainable growth. Coupled with the benefits from our ongoing operational efficiency programs, we are on track to deliver on our 2015 targets. The third quarter was also notable for several achievements, including being ranked first in our industry on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third year running. In addition, our Human Cities initiative gathered momentum when we made a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative and partnered with The Rockefeller Foundation through its 100 Resilient Cities program. We also developed coatings technology for the world's first fully recyclable and compostable paper cup, and we broke ground on a new Decorative Paints site in Chengdu, China." - * Email

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McLube

Goodyear automatic tire inflation system in fleet testing

Friday, October 24, 2014

Akron, OH - TruckingInfo.com reports, "Goodyear says it will be testing its Air Maintenance Technology for commercial vehicles, which keeps tires inflated without any external pumps or electronics, on trucking fleets over the next year and a half. Goodyear has been developing and testing the technology since 2011. It automatically keeps tires inflated to a specified cold inflation pressure with internal pumps and sensors. The AMT system is designed to work under many operating conditions and through multiple retreads. “This is an important milestone in the development of AMT for the commercial trucking marketplace,” said Joseph Zekoski, chief technical officer. “The tires equipped with AMT have performed well in testing and we are pleased that so many of our fleet customers were eager to collaborate with us.” The system uses a peristaltic pump technology to automatically maintain tire pressures specified by the fleet. All components of the AMT system are contained within the tire. Properly inflated tires result in lower emissions, longer tire life, improved safety and better performance. The Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology gave a $1.5 million grant to assist in the research and development of AMT. Representatives from the DOE met with Goodyear’s AMT teams in September to review the progress on the project. “This phase of testing will go a long way in helping us determine when we can make this technology available in the commercial tire marketplace,” said Zekoski. - * Email

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Nizhnekamskshina produces 2 millionth truck tire

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nizhnekamsk, Russia - Russian tire manufacturer Nizhnekamskshina has is broken through the 2 million all-steel radial truck tire barrier at its Nizhnekamsk factory. Nizhnekamskshina commissioned the factory in 2011 after a two-year, $575 million construction project, according to online news reports. The reports suggest the two millionth tire was a Kama NF202, which is sold on the basis of its improved load carrying capabilities, 8 percent more load per tire than the company’s previous steel-and-textile constructions. Fuel consumption is also said to be 10 percent lower. The company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of OOO Tatneft-Neftekhim, also produces Continental tires at the plant under an offtake agreement, which includes technical support. The factory reportedly has the capacity to produce 1.2 million tires annually across 54 sizes. In addition to Continental, major customers include vehicle makers JSC Kamaz, JSC NefAZ and MZ Tonar, along with Russian transportation companies Celta and Mosgortrans. - * Email

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Cooper Tire introduces new Discoverer SRX luxury sport utility tire

Friday, October 24, 2014

Findlay, OH - In its centennial year, Cooper continues to deliver exceptional all-season tire performance through a blend of innovative technology and advanced engineering. The latest example is Cooper’s Discoverer SRX, a new premium sport utility and crossover vehicle tire designed to provide dependable all-season highway traction, superior handling, and a quiet, comfortable ride for a wide range of CUVs and SUVs. The Discoverer SRX features Cooper’s innovative Wear Square. First introduced on the company’s CS5 Touring tire, the Wear Square is exclusive to Cooper and features a visual indicator that is part of the tread design, allowing drivers to quickly assess the approximate tread remaining on their tires. As the tire wears, the Wear Square transitions among five stages, beginning with a full square design on new tires and ending with an exclamation mark when the tread reaches 2/32s of an inch, the minimum tread depth permitted in most states. Located at six points of reference around the inside and outside of the tire, the Wear Square can also signal uneven tire wear and possible wheel alignment issues. Together with visual inspections and proper maintenance, the Wear Square will provide consumers more confidence on the road. The SRX also boasts a new generation silica tread compound, with increased road-gripping performance and reduced rolling resistance. This new tread compound, combined with patented Stabiledge technology and specially developed 3D Micro-Gauge sipes, delivers more road surface grip for increased traction in wet weather conditions and light snow, resulting in superior handling and improved stopping distances. Boosting snow-on-snow traction, this tire’s new winter-edge feature creates a snow grip tread area to help drivers conquer the winter elements. Collectively, these elements complement each other to ensure a smooth and confident ride for everyday road trips. In addition to Cooper’s premium 65,000-mile treadwear protection warranty, the Discoverer SRX is also backed by a 45-day road test guarantee. This all-season luxury tire is now available at Cooper Tire dealers nationwide in six SUV and CUV sizes, including five sizes new to Cooper’s SUV highway product line-up and the sixth being the most popular size in the SUV market today. An additional 30 sizes will be available in early 2015. - * Email

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Conser S.p.A elected new member to IISRP

Friday, October 24, 2014

Houston, TX - The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers, Inc. (IISRP) has elected Conser S.p.A. as their most recent Affiliate Member. “We are extremely happy to announce the membership of Conser to our expanding list of Affiliated Members,” stated James L. McGraw, managing director and CEO of the IISRP. The newest IISRP Affiliate is headquartered in Rome, Italy, and has designated Gabriella Compagnone as the liaison representative and Alessio Pugliese as her alternate. Conser is a consultancy to the synthetic rubber industry. The IISRP is an international not-for-profit trade association with over 60 corporate members, domiciled in 22 countries, who produce 80 percent of the world's supply of synthetic rubber. Incorporated in 1960 and headquartered in Houston, TX, the Institute supports section offices in Milan, Tokyo and Beijing. - * Email

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First blow molded TPE CVJ drive axle boot named 2014 SPE Automotive Hall of Fame Winner

Friday, October 24, 2014

Troy, MI - The first global implementation of a blow-molded, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) constant velocity joint (CVJ) half-shaft drive-axle boot seal used on 1984 model year (MY) Buick Riviera, Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Toronado sedans (E/K platform) produced by then General Motors Corp. (GM) was selected as the 2014 Hall of Fame winner by the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) for the group's 44th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition. To be considered for a Hall of Fame award, an automotive plastic or composite component must have been in continuous service in some form for at least 15 years and preferably have been widely adopted within the automotive or ground-transportation industries. This application certainly meets the criteria: It has been in continuous use on GM cars and trucks for 30 years, and 85 percent of front-axle CVJ boot seals on light-duty vehicles worldwide now use TPE in this application to replace polychloroprene rubber. Many recreational and commercial vehicles also use the technology. According to SPE Hall of Fame committee co-chair, Nippani Rao, president, RAO Associates, "The success of the first TPE CVJ boot is truly the result of a co-operative development effort that drew on the strengths of tier 1 Nexteer Automotive, formerly GM Saginaw Steering Gear Division (plastics, steering/driveline expertise), tier 2 ABC Group (process innovator and part manufacturer), and materials supplier E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. (Hytrel thermoplastic copolyester elastomer (TPC-ET, a type of TPE) supplier). The team's hard work, which began in 1977 with joint development of the first blow-molded TPE rack and pinion steering boot, was led by Nexteer with boot design, testing, validation and correlation to vehicle performance. The result was a very-successful introduction of a far more robust CVJ sealing solution that also was lighter, more durable, and less costly than the injection-molded rubber boots it replaced. This is just the kind of application we seek to honor in our annual Hall of Fame award." David Reed, General Motors Corp.-retired and also SPE Hall of Fame committee co-chair, who was involved with the original application's approval process when he worked at GM's Chevrolet and Pontiac divisions as well as CPC Engineering, explained the significance, "It was a truly bold and revolutionary change to switch from thermoset rubber to thermoplastic elastomer. Saginaw (Nexteer) ran every performance test we could come up with on the new material, and with each iteration, the TPE passed with flying colors. It offered us both low-temperature flex to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius) and high-temperature durability to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 degrees Celsius)." The basic function of CVJ boots is twofold. First, it protects bearings in the constant-velocity joint by keeping out dirt, water, salt, ice, snow, mud, stones, and other road debris. Second, it keeps lubricating grease inside the CVJ as the drive axle rotates and propels the vehicle. At the time the application was developed, rubber boot failures accounted for the majority of drive-axle repairs. The team set out to develop a new boot that would solve performance problems inherent to the incumbent material. The new part had to meet a challenging set of performance standards, including providing excellent resistance to flexural fatigue to allow for high steering angles and dynamic suspension travel; broad temperature performance ranging from -40 to 121 degrees Celsius (-40 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit); resistance to attack from chemicals (underhood fluids and greases) and ozone; resistance to punctures, impacts and abrasion; dimensional stability at higher speeds; and smaller, more compact designs with thinner wall sections to reduce part weight and material costs. Following successful launch of the rack and pinion boots in TPE, the three suppliers worked for several years to develop the CVJ boot application. Process innovations as well as specialized equipment were developed by ABC Group to blow mold what at the time was a new material. Challenges that had to be solved included parison control, material distribution to achieve thinner-walled parts, shot-to-shot consistency, and ramp-up work to launch this sizable program. Efforts paid off with DuPont developing a new grade of the TPE and ABC Group patenting process developments that permitted tighter tolerances on the sealing surface to prevent leaks, which had been a big issue with the era's incumbent technology. On November 12 at SPE’s annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala held at Burton Manor (www.Burtonmanor.net) in Livonia, MI, a representative from GM will accept the award on behalf of the original team that worked on the program. Members from ABC Group, Nexteer Automotive, and DuPont Automotive also will be recognized on stage. - * Email

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Book of the day - Cost Reduction in Rubber Processing

Friday, October 24, 2014

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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