Caprolactam Prices, markets & analysis
ICIS provides independent and unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis for the global Caprolactam market. Our network of price reporters, based in Asia, Europe and the US, deliver local insight for each of these markets, which is published in our individual weekly and daily price reports.
If you buy or sell Caprolactam or related products, our reports, news and market intelligence will give you the prices and analysis of the factors driving the prices that you need to make confident commercial decisions.
Caprolactam Overview Transcript
Caprolactam is an intermediate used in the production of nylon 6 fibres and resins. Around 70% of caprolactam is consumed in the production of nylon 6 for textiles, carpets and industrial yarns with the rest used in engineering resins and films.
Nylon 6 textile fibres are used to dye to give deep and bright shades, while offering high strength and light weight and can be combined with spandex fibres to give good stretch-fit properties.
Nylon six resins are increasingly used as engineering plastics. Packaging films manufactured from nylon 6 have a good combination of mechanical, optical and barrier properties.
Small amounts of caprolactam are used in cross-linking for polyurethanes.
Caprolactam is a widely traded product, with Europe one of the main exporting regions to Asia. Europe has the capacity to produce 1.9m tonnes/year of caprolactam, while global output is put at 4.9m tonnes/year.
Owing to strong demand in Asia, where downstream demand is exceeding caprolactam production, a high volume of European caprolactam has been and continues to be flaked for export to Asia.
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Caprolactam news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Caprolactam analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Caprolactam marketplace.
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Caprolactam: Market overview
Stability in supply and quality of produce from new caprolactam (capro) capacities in the market during the year has received divided views from the market. While some market participants believe that the increase in supply has reduced dependence on European imports, others believe that there is still demand in the Chinese market.
From mid-July to August, capro production in several China plants was disrupted because of technical problems. The tight availability of spot supply was further aggravated by plant shutdowns of major exporters from Europe, resulting in an uptrend of spot prices.
However, as short-term growth prospects for nylon are weak, market conditions remain to be too volatile for firm predictions.
In the near term, major capro contract producers in the region are expected to be conducting plant maintenances in September and October as China and European players resume operations at their plants during the third quarter.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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Caprolactam occurs as white, hygroscopic flakes or crystals with a distinctive odour. It is soluble in water, cyclohexane, chlorinated hydrocarbons and is usually used, stored and transported in liquefied form at about 80oC.
Caprolactam is an intermediate primarily used in the production of nylon 6 fibres and resins. Nylon 6 fibres are made into textile, carpet and industrial yarns.
Nylon resins are noted for their performance properties including high tensile strength, excellent abrasion, chemical and heat resistance. They are the basis of engineering plastics, used in electronic and electrical components and automobiles, and oriented polyamide films used widely in food packaging.
Conventional caprolactam technology is based on the key intermediate cyclohexanone, which is usually produced by the oxidation of cyclohexane. Cyclohexanone is then reacted with hydroxylamine sulphate to produce cyclohexanone oxime. This is followed by a Beckmann rearrangement using oleum to yield caprolactam.