24 April 2012 23:47 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--World supplies of nylon 12, constrained by a plant explosion, may last for four to six weeks, a US-based automobile group said on Tuesday.
However, David Lalain, the business director for the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), said reliable information on nylon 12 supplies is hard to quantify.
“Part of the reason is because we have an extended supply chain,” he said. “There’s product on ships, some in warehouses. We really don’t have a solid number, as far as how much material is out there.”
Supplies of nylon 12 reached a critical level after a deadly explosion last month at an Evonik cyclododecatriene (CDT) plant in Marl, Germany. CDT is a feedstock for nylon 12, which is used in several automotive components, including fuel and brake lines.
Evonik has said it is working feverishly to get the plant back on line by December. The blast killed two people.
Several chemical producers have pledged to fill the nylon 12 void with alternate supplies.
DuPont has said they are working with customers to supply alternative specialty resins, including nylon 6, 10; nylon 6, 12; and nylon 10, 10.
A Schulman has said it can replace nylon 12 with nylon 6, 12 in several applications, including automotive fuel and brake system components.
“The exposure we have gained over the last 18 months due to customer trials and approvals, commercial ramp-up and intensive marketing could open up opportunities to gain new business but we cannot, at this time, quantify what impact this may bring for our company,” said company spokeswoman Jennifer Beeman.
The AIAG facilitated a summit last week to discuss the industry’s options. It included producers, auto makers and suppliers.
From it, six committees were formed - two to discuss replacements for nylon 12 and supply chain alternatives and four dedicated to specific auto components.
The most critical use of nylon 12 is for multi-layer nylon tubing used for fuel systems, Lalain said.
“It’s a very important part,” he said. “If we have [nylon 12], then we would like to see it used for that application because it’s the most difficult to replace.”
He said nylon 12 supply can be extended if they can find alternatives for other uses and use the remaining supply for the critical fuel system tubing.
Additionally, one of the committees from the AIAG summit is working on a plan to fast track an approval process for alternative materials.
Lalain said the tests can be completed in about three weeks.
“There are some hoses, clamps and battery housings that [nylon 12] is used in,” he said. “There may be some easy alternatives for them, so we can save our [nylon 12] supplies for more critical parts. Everyone is working on alternatives. There seems to be a lot of supply worldwide. It’s just a matter of how quickly we can move.”
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