Dusseldorf, Germany – The European rubber sector will have to keep an eye the developments within the industry that could unsettle the sector, the German rubber industry association WDK has warned.
According to the secretary general of WDK, Boris Engelhardt, the recent closure of plants could lead to “loss of specific grades and raw material qualities”.
These include Lanxess’ closing of Marl EPDM, the end of carbon black production in Hanover by Birla and the planned shutdown of Orion’s Ambes facility in France.
The result is that the industry should make more efforts to modify rubber compounds, said Engelhardt speaking at a press conference ahead of the major rubber and plastics K Show in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Engelhardt said that the industry had enjoyed some relief through the lower natural rubber prices and the reduction of crude oil prices, which led to lower costs for synthetic rubber and carbon blacks.
However, he added, the decline in natural rubber prices has now consolidated at a “reasonable level”,
Furthermore, additional testing procedures and approvals are challenging rubber industry both from a technical and an economic point of view, noted the WDK official.
Referring to the third and last registration phase for REACH on 31 May 2018, Engelhardt said that there was no sufficient evidence to show whether suppliers of small-volume chemicals will actually go for registration or not.
“Chemicals designed for applications in the rubber sector are used in small quantities and they are essential for the production of technically advance rubber materials,” he added.