Chemical Profile: NYLON 66

13 November 2006 00:00  [Source: ICB Americas]

DEMAND

2004: 2.22bn pounds 2005: 2.18bn pounds 2009: 2.22bn pounds, projected. Demand equals production plus imports (2004: 165m pounds 2005: 156m pounds) less exports (2004: 478m pounds 2005: 458m pounds).

GROWTH

Historical (2000-2005): 0.4% per year future: 0.5% per year through 2009.

PRICE

Historical (2000-2005): High, $1.57/lb., aver. ann., inj. mold. ind. grade, Gulf Low, 87 cents/lb., same basis. Current, $1.43 to $1.54/lb., same basis. Source: ICIS pricing

USES

Textile and industrial fibers, 75% injection molding resins (including automotive/truck parts, electrical parts, consumer articles), 23% extrusion resins (including film and coatings, nontextile monofilament, tubing and pipe), 2%.

MARKET PERSPECTIVE

Nylon resins belong to a group of high-performance plastics often referred to as engineering thermoplastics. These materials are noted for their outstanding properties, including high tensile strength excellent abrasion, chemical and heat resistance and low coefficient of friction. Thus, they have particular utility in performing mechanical duties that traditionally relied on metal parts. Nylon fibers are widely used in apparel, home furnishings and industrial uses, particularly in applications that require high tensile strength and abrasion resistance.

Overall demand for nylon 66 has been in slow decline over the past decade, but somewhat steady for the past five years. This is due to a drop in fiber production. Though the strong housing market has kept demand for residential carpeting at a high level, the demand for industrial carpeting has fallen because of the weak commercial construction and hotel industry markets. And recently, even the housing market is retreating. The Census Bureau reported that housing starts in August 2006 were down 6% from July and down 19.8% from August 2005. Building permits were down 2.3% and down 21.9% from one year ago.

Automobile and truck parts make up the largest market for nylon 66 engineering resins. Automotive applications for many plastics have been driven in recent years in the trend toward replacing metal parts with plastics, thereby reducing the overall weight of motor vehicles. Automotive applications of nylon 66 resins include exterior body components (e.g., louvers, mirror housings and wheel covers), under-the-hood components (e.g., fan blades, emission control canisters, and reservoirs for brake and power steering fluids) and numerous mechanical components. The consumption of nylon 66 resins for automotive applications is expected to continue at above GDP rates as designers become accustomed to using nylon instead of metal for an increasing variety of small automotive components.

Other important and growing nylon 66 resin applications include film and extrusion coatings, electrical and electronic parts, wire and cable coatings, and accessories for hardware, furniture and appliances.

OUTLOOK

The outlook for nylon 66 is about average for a mature commodity chemical. US nylon 66 resin demand is growing at 3% per annum, but this is nearly offset by the 1% decline in the fiber sector, which is about three times as large. Aggregate US nylon 66 demand is projected to increase 0.5% per year to reach 2.22bn pounds in 2009. Global demand, however, is increasing at 2-2.5% per year, which is attributed to Asian activity, mostly in China.


Nylon 66 US CAPACITY,millions of LBs./year

Company Location Capacity
Nylon Resins
BASF Bishop, Tex. 88
DuPont Chattanooga, Tenn. 55
DuPont Parkersburg, W.Va. 350
DuPont Richmond, Va. 110
Shakespeare Columbia, S.C. 6
Solutia Pensacola, Fla. 276
Total Nylon 66 Resins 885
Nylon Chip and Flake for Fiber
Invista Camden, S.C. 534
Invista Chattanooga, Tenn. 261
Invista Seaford, Del. 424
Invista Waynesboro, Va. 197
Solutia Greenwood, S.C. 189
Solutia Pensacola, Fla. 634
Total Nylon 66 Chip and Flake   2,239
TOTAL 3,124
SOURCE: ICBA

*Millions of pounds per year Nylon 66. Nylon 66 is produced by reacting adipic acid with hexamethylenediamine to form an intermediate salt, which polymerizes via condensation upon heating.

Production capacities at DuPont, Parkersburg, W.Va. and Shakespeare Company, Columbia, S.C., are also used to manufacture nylon 6, which is produced by the reaction of caprolactam with water (producing the intermediate, aminocaproic acid), and then polymerized by condensation.

Invista is independently managed, but wholly owned by a subsidiary of Koch Industries. In April 2004, Koch acquired Invista from DuPont, with nylon synthesis and fiber production facilities at Camden, S.C. Chattanooga, Tenn. Seaford, Del. and Waynesboro, Va. In 2003, DuPont had repackaged its DuPont Textiles & Interiors business as Invista in anticipation of such a sale.

Earlier this year, Solutia increased its nylon 66 resins capacity at its Pensacola, Fla., plant by 66m lbs./year, realizing a new capacity of 276m lbs./year.


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Profile last published January 19, 2004





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