Rubber Journal Asia Industry News Chinese plants in Suzhou and Hangzhou. The former plant has repeatedly expanded since 2013 and will get the most equipment updates. The upgrades will cost US$241 million, thus making China the largest manufacturing base of YRC outside Japan. • Finnish tyre manufacturer Nokian Tyres will be building its third factory in the US to boost growth outside the European market. The new US$360 million greenfield factory will be located in Tennessee and have a capacity of 4 million tyres/year with an expansion potential in the future. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2018 and the first tyres are to be produced in 2020. • Italian tyre maker Pirelli is suspending its production in crisis-hit Venezuela indefinitely as it cannot get the necessary raw materials. The firm has had the plant in the country for 26 years. But it said it would continue to supply its tyres to the country. The company has halted production once before two weeks last year but this time the suspension is indefinite. This news follows after automotive maker General Motors said it was quitting Venezuela. • German machine manufacturer Troester, as part of its restructuring and optimisation of its Hanover plant, will begin a second construction phase to expand its factory. A 3,200 sq m-production hall was constructed in 2016 and it will expand this to 25,000 sq m this year. The extrusion specialist manufactures machines for
repeated extrusion of tyre components, rubber goods or medium to extra high-voltage cables. • US-based chemicals firm Cabot Corporation is building a new worldclass plant for fumed silica, CAB-O-SIL, in the US, to be operational by 2020. The facility, which is an extension of Cabot’s longterm relationship with Dow Corning, will be adjacent to the latter’s existing silicone monomer plant in Carrollton. Cabot and Dow Corning have been partners for more than 30 years, with current neighbouring operations in the US and UK. • US-based chemicals firm Dow Chemical is to construct a manufacturing facility to produce a range of polymers for coatings and watertreatment applications, and an MOU for a feasibility study related to a proposed investment in the company’s performance silicones franchise in Saudi Arabia. Located in the PlasChem Park in Jubail, the coatings facility will service the needs of the Saudi Arabian market with a range of acrylic-based polymers for industrial and architectural coatings and water-treatment and detergent applications. It will complement Dow’s existing coatings capabilities in the Middle East, which include an existing facility in Dubai. The proposed silicones investment will include a fully integrated, worldscale siloxanes and silicones complex for various markets such as home and personal care, automotive, building and construction, solar energy, medical devices, and oil and gas.
• ContiTech, a division of German automotive manufacturing company Continental, is closing its plant in Missouri, US, by end of the year to give way to investing in new technology. It will also move its PVC hose business to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where it is adding 36,000 sq ft of space as part of a US$12 million project. ContiTech is also investing US$7.2 million to expand its industrial hose plant in Mount Pleasant. • VMI South America has opened its new headquarters in Itatiaia, near São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The firm is the service hub for all VMI equipment users in South America, with direct spare parts supply and the production-assembly hub for its tyre retreading machines in the region. • Malaysia’s state-owned oil company Petronas and its partner in the Rapid (Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development) project in Johor, Saudi Aramco, are studying the feasibility of building other petrochemical plants to make full use of raw materials from the Rapid project. Aramco signed a deal with Petronas early this year taking up a US$7 billion investment in the Rapid project in Pengerang. Projects being studied include speciality chemicals and synthetic rubber. The cracker has a capacity of 600,000 tonnes of butadiene, which could be used to produce either elastomers or synthetic rubber.
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