The auto industry is worried that a shortage of the chemical could disrupt production in some US auto plants following a March 31 explosion at an Evonik Industries AG chemical plant in Marl, Germany.
The plant shutdown has largely cut the global supply of the resin known as PA-12 or nylon-12.
TI Automotive Ltd., the company that supplies automakers like General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen with these parts, warned its clients April 12 that a resin shortage could interrupt production “in the next few weeks”.
Now DuPont, the world’s third largest chemical company expects increasing demand from automakers to work around a shortage of resin used to make braking and fuel parts, its chief executive officer said.
The company has capacity to provide additional polymers called Zytel, Delrin and Hytrel to the industry, CEO Ellen Kullman of Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont, told reporters today on a conference call.
DuPont has assembled a team to work with automakers on increasing production of replacement materials. However, it will be up to the automakers to determine on a case-by-case basis which materials they will use.
“The disruption will probably affect Europe primarily,” said Rod Lache, an analyst for Deutsche Bank in New York told the FTD. He added that the US and Asia had enough nylon-12 to last for several weeks.
Substituting other materials in intense auto applications also requires testing of up to 5,000 hours. However, in most cases, replacement materials would cost a bit less than nylon 12, which according to some media reports – was selling for at least $5 per pound, even before the accident in Germany.