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Goodyear announces its 34th Highway Hero  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Akron, OH - A truck driver who stopped an out-of-control dump truck and then saved the life of an incapacitated driver by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the 34th Goodyear Highway Hero. Chosen from three finalists, David Webb of Billings, MT, accepted the 34th Goodyear Highway Hero Award during the Mid-America Trucking Show, which is takes place in Louisville, KY. Webb and his wife, Carol, were driving through Washington State last June when they observed a dump truck in the next lane swerve. Webb pulled up to the dump truck and noticed that its driver was slumped over the steering wheel. As the dump truck slowed, Webb parked his own truck and ran after the still-moving vehicle. He jumped onto the dump truck’s running board, opened the door, reached inside and applied the brakes, which brought the truck to a stop. As Carol called 911, Webb, working with a bystander, pulled the driver, who was not breathing, out of the truck and was performing CPR on him when help arrived. The driver was hospitalized and survived. “David took immediate action to save a fellow truck driver and stop an out-of-control truck that could have injured others,” said Gary Medalis, marketing director, Goodyear. “For his quick thinking and courage, we are proud to name him our 34th Goodyear Highway Hero.” As the Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner, Webb receives a special Highway Hero ring, a $5,000 prize and other items. Webb and two other truck drivers were selected as finalists for the 34th Goodyear Highway Hero Award. The other finalists were: Chris Baker, a driver from Chicopee, MA, was driving down a New Jersey highway when he spotted flickering lights ahead. Pulling closer to investigate, he found a minivan that had flipped over onto its side. Flames erupted from the vehicle’s engine. Grabbing his fire extinguisher, he ran to the van and put out the fire. By then, the van’s passenger had escaped and crawled to safety, but its unconscious driver remained inside, hanging from a seat belt. Working with a bystander, Baker unfastened the driver’s seat belt, grabbed him by the arm, and pulled him away from the van. Baker stayed by his side until rescue crews arrived. The man survived and did not suffer any significant injuries. Tim Freiburger, a driver from Huntington, IN, was driving through Indiana when he saw a car lose control and drive into a creek, where it flipped and came to a stop, upside-down in standing water. Freiburger raced to the car, which contained a mother and her three children. He broke a window and pulled the children out of the car. After carrying them to the creek’s bank, he returned to the car, ripped open its door, and rescued the mother. He stayed with the family until paramedics arrived. The family suffered only minor bruises as a result of the accident. The Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner was selected by an independent panel consisting of members of the trucking trade press. “We are proud of all three of our Highway Hero finalists,” said Medalis. “Each is a hero in his own right and is truly worthy of recognition.” - * Email

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Kuraray America celebrates 30 years of Eval production in United States  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Houston, TX - Kuraray America Inc. celebrated 30 years of Eval production in the U.S. at its plant in Pasadena, TX. Also marking 30 years of safe operation at the Eval plant, the event included a behind-the-scenes tour of the plant for customers and local officials, remarks from Tetsuro Amano, the Consul General of Japan, and the traditional Kagamiwari sake barrel breaking ceremony. “This week was a notable milestone for Kuraray as we celebrate 30 years of continuous safe operation at our Eval plant,” said George Avdey, president and CEO of Kuraray America, Inc. “In 1986, Kuraray planted the first seed in Texas by constructing this Eval plant. Today we have four world-scale specialty plants and our headquarters in the southeast Houston areas of La Porte, Pasadena, Bayport and Clear Lake, employing over 500 people.” Eval is the branded name for ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) used in numerous everyday applications. Eval has revolutionized the way that we live our lives and the products that we use. These unique high barrier polymers are particularly suited for preserving quality and avoiding waste in food, medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and industrial packaging. They also help use energy more efficiently and reduce environmental impact in automotive fuel systems, building and construction materials, and agricultural films. For example, 1 mm of EVOH can be used in place of 10 M of low density polyethylene, resulting in less waste. “The highlight of the event for me was the unveiling of a 30-year milestone monument to commemorate this anniversary,” explains Robert Armstrong, general manager of the Eval business unit at Kuraray. “The milestone monument was created from one of the original columns used at the Eval site when it started operation in 1986, and recognizes both the 12 customers in 1986 who are still with us today, and the dedication of our plant team by noting 49 employees who have been with the company for more than 25 years. Thanks to the innovative collaboration between customers and Kuraray employees in using Eval to preserve food supplies, protect the environment and improve health, we are able to offer a product around the world that makes a difference in millions of lives. The partnership between the Kuraray team and our customers is truly something to be proud of.” The opening of the Eval plant 30 years ago created 60 jobs in Houston. Today, the plant employs 85 full-time workers and 55 contractors. In entirety, Kuraray America has over 750 employees in the U.S. - * Email

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Wacker opens international training center for silicone applications in Japan  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Munich, Germany – Wacker Chemie AG has opened a new Wacker Academy training center in Tsukuba, near Tokyo. The center primarily offers seminars on silicone products for the automotive, electronics, sealant and personal-care sectors. At Tsukuba, Wacker manufactures silicone products through its joint venture, Wacker Asahikasei Silicone (AWS). It also operates a silicone coatings competence center there. With the addition of the Wacker Academy, the site now combines under one roof not only production, R&D and application technology, but also a training center for Wacker’s silicones. “Our new training center in Tsukuba is another milestone in our growth strategy for Asia, particularly for Japan,” said Christian Hartel of Wacker’s executive board during the opening ceremony. The Munich-based chemical company’s new Wacker Academy center will reinforce the company’s leading market and technology position for high-quality silicone solutions and will strengthen its local expertise in R&D, application technology and customer support, added Hartel. The center’s seminar program is specifically tailored to market needs in Japan and Asia as a whole. “Thanks to this unique Japanese facility, we can generate high added value for our local customers and partners and expand our technical expertise in the region.” Hiroshi Yoshida, lead executive officer of the joint venture partner Asahi Kasei Corporation, is convinced: “Wacker Academy is a highly effective tool for responding to the sophisticated demands of Japanese customers. I anticipate that the facility will boost AWS’s growth.” Specialty silicones from Wacker are used in products ranging from airbag coatings to skin creams. “Wacker Academy workshops and seminars are ideal for showing how we tailor the versatile properties of our silicones to a customer’s specific needs,” explained the head of Wacker Silicones, Robert Gnann, in his speech. The center focuses on specialty silicones, he added. They are used for coating technical textiles and as optical lenses in LEDs, for example. The center also offers seminars on personal-care products, release coatings, electronic applications and sealants. By having production, R&D labs and a training center all under one roof, Wacker is ideally positioned for supporting customers in the region. Seminar participants benefit from being so close to R&D facilities, since they have access to training labs with state-of-the-art equipment. This allows them to perform extensive practical exercises alongside their theoretical sessions. As a result, the Wacker Academy is an ideal, industry-specific platform for networking among customers, distributors and Wacker specialists. - * Email

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Songwon announces financial results for 2016  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ulsan, Korea – Songwon Industrial Group released its financial results for fiscal year 2016. In terms of sales, it was a very positive year overall for the organization, with almost all product lines contributing to the group’s growth despite the ongoing challenging economic environment. The company achieved sales revenues of 694,326 million KRW and a net profit of 42,244 million KRW. Within polymer stabilizers, the One Pack Systems (OPS) business was Songwon’s growth leader in 2016, with its world-class OPS facility in Abu Dhabi coming onstream in January, and the new JV OPS plant in Qingdao, China, successfully commissioned in November. Sales in plasticizers and tin intermediates also soared, and Songwon recorded a 6.1 percent increase in overall sales over the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2016, both Songwon’s EBITDA and EBIT margins increased to 15.2 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively. For the full year 2016, EBITDA increased to 16.4 percent and EBIT to 11.4 percent. In the first six months of 2016, revenues were supported by favorable exchange rates. However, in the second half of the year, the overall currency had a slightly negative effect. Although its prices remained stable in the first half of 2016, Songwon did see some minor price erosion on some of its main products as the result of additional antioxidant capacity coming on stream. Songwon also saw the traditional decline in overall demand towards the end of the year caused by customers’ usual year-end destocking activities. Once again, Songwon recorded stable production at high utilization rates throughout the year, and also successfully implemented a capacity expansion in its Maeam plant in Korea. Throughout 2016, Songwon continued to drive organic growth across all of its business areas by further leveraging its industry expertise and bringing new innovations to the market. The company has been successfully executing its strategy to transform Songwon into a leading specialty chemicals company, and will continue its ongoing investment in the improvement of its operational efficiency to meet customers’ needs. In the near future, Sonngwon anticipates seeing moderate to high growth in polymer stabilizers resulting from an increase in demand for plastics and polyolefins supported by large investments in capacity by customers, particularly in China, MEA and North America. The group also forecasts a solid restart in the overall demand in the first quarter of 2017. Looking ahead, Songwon expects its new product lines and the innovations it launched in 2016 to further enhance growth possibilities and positively contribute to Songwon’s overall performance. Songwon is confident that it is well-prepared to navigate the challenges facing the industry, and well-positioned to meet and exceed its strategic targets. “We will continue to focus on operational excellence, strengthening Songwon’s development capability and building an innovative, well-balanced portfolio, while keeping an eye on growth and achieving solid financial results and a sound balance sheet for our stakeholders,” said Hans-Peter Wüest, chief financial officer. - * Email

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Songwon announces global price increases for its polymer stabilizers  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ulsan, Korea - Songwon Industrial Co., Ltd. announced price increases up to 10 percent on its polymer stabilizers. The price increase is effective for all orders invoiced on or after April 1, 2017, or as contracts allow. - * Email

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