Carbon black supplier Orion Engineered Carbons says that next year the company will invest to convert a reactor line at its plant in Ivanhoe, Louisiana, US, from manufacturing soft carbon black to producing hard carbon black, commonly used in tyre treads. It will increase supply by 30,000 tonnes/year by mid-2022.
“With the continued onshoring of tyre production to the U.S., the carbon black supply-demand balance is getting tighter, particularly for hard carbon black,” CEO Corning Painter said.
“To help support this aspect of the automotive tyre supply chain, we are going to invest in converting a reactor at our Ivanhoe plant, increasing the domestic supply of hard black. Soft black capacity will be decreased by about the same amount,” Painter added.
Adding carbon black to tyres makes them stronger, reduces treadwear, allows tyre engineers to fine tune performance and protects from the damaging effects of UV light.