Senningerberg, Luxembourg - Orion Engineered Carbons is closing down a 45-kilotonne-per-annum (ktpa) carbon black facility in Bupyeong, transferring production capacity to its other South Korean plant in Yeosu.
The consolidation will be completed over the next 20 months, said a 4 Nov statement from Orion, which has recently also announced the repurposing of a tire-rubber, carbon black line at the Yeosu facility.
“After review of our operations in Korea, we are announcing our intention to concentrate our Korean production at one site,” said Jack Clem, chief executive officer of Orion.
High labour costs, the cost and availability of essential feedstocks and the need to improve the productivity were the main reasons for the decision, Clem explained.
Further details of the consolidation measure will be finalised by the end of the year, said the company, which is seeking to focus more on speciality and technically-demanding rubber products.
Bupyeong, Incheon, employs 38 people in its manufacturing operations.
in October, Orion announced plans to convert a 20 ktpa tire-grade carbon black production line at its plant in Yeosu, to speciality and technical rubber products.
The project is in addition to a previously announced plan to expand the speciality and technical grade mix at Orion’s Qingdao, China plant.
The Yeosu site has five production units with a total production capacity of 188 kilotonne per annum.
Orion said in April that it was shifting production to more speciality carbon black products for plastics and printing applications, and to more technically unique rubber black grades, including those sold to the mechanical rubber goods industry.
This strategy is in evidence at Orion’ facility in Qingdao, China – in January the company acquired all remaining shares in the Qingdao Evonik Chemical operation for around €28 million.
“We have begun to move into some of the speciality, and some of the non-rubber applications with that plant since we’ve acquired it,” said Clem during a Q1 report in April. “The large majority of the material that is produced there is not commodity ASTM grade but more tapping into the high-end mechanical rubber goods.”