Orion Engineered Carbons to convert Franklin reactor to make ‘hard carbon black’

Orion Engineered Carbons, a global supplier of specialty and high-performance carbon black, announced last week that it plans to convert a reactor line at its Franklin, La., plant in St. Mary Parish from producing soft carbon black to hard carbon black, commonly used in tire treads.

“With the continued onshoring of tire 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 tire supply chain, we are going to invest in converting a reactor at our Ivanhoe plant, increasing the domestic supply of hard black by about 30,000 tons per year by mid-2022,” he adds. “Soft black capacity will be decreased by about the same amount.”

Adding carbon black to tires makes them stronger, reduces treadwear, allows tire engineers to fine tune performance and protects from the damaging effects of UV light. Read more.