Oita Works, Japan — Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd. will increase production of resorcinol, a raw material used in automotive tires and other applications.
The company plans to boost the annual production capacity by 2,000 tons to 12,000 tons at its Oita Works facility in Japan in early 2018. The firm said automotive ant other tires account for half of all resorcinol applications.
Sumitomo Chemical also produces resorcinol at its Chiba Works site, also in Japan, where the company has an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons. The expansion at Oita Works will the combined resorcinol capacity to 32,000 tons.
Resorcinol firmly adheres rubber to reinforcing tire cord, with additional uses as a wood adhesive, a flame retardant and an ultraviolet absorber, Sumitomo said. It also serves as a starting material for fine chemical products, such as medical supplies and agrochemicals. Tie firm estimates global resorcinol demand is estimated at about 55,000–60,000 tonnes per year.
Supply for resorcinol has been outpacing demand, which Sumitomo Chemical said was the primary reason for fellow supplier Indspec to withdraw from the market in March, announcing that it had ceased production of the chemical. The firm said it is now the only large manufacturer able to provide a steady supply of resorcinol and has received a "high level" of inquiries following Indspec's withdrawal.