Materials suppliers and automakers have rallied to address the global shortage of nylon 12—used primarily for fuel and brake-line connectors and other automotive components such as tubing and hoses—which is expected to last through the remainder of this year. Of the four nylon 12 resin makers—Arkema Group (arkema.com), EMS-Grivory (emsgrivory.com), Evonik Industries (evonik.com), and Ube Industries (ube-ind.co.jp) only Evonik was back-integrated into the key feedstock cyclododecatriene (CDT). The shortage resulted from a March 31 fire and explosion that destroyed Evonik’s CDT facility in Marl, Germany. The other three nylon 12 suppliers buy CDT from Evonik, BASF, or Invista. Evonik aims to restart its CDT plant in the fourth quarter.
In the first week of May, the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) in Southfield, Mich., issued a standardized procedure to streamline materials suppliers’ efforts to get a customer approval to switch materials within a three-to-four week period. Meanwhile, several suppliers are offering replacements:
•Evonik is offering extrusion and injection molding compounds based on nylon 610, 612, 1010, and 1012 that do not require CDT as a precursor and are well suited for use in fuel-line systems, including multi-layer tubing systems patented by Evonik.
•Rhodia Engineering Plastics (rhodia.com) is offering its Technyl eXten nylon 610 resins as a “true drop-in solution,” particularly for tubing applications (see photo) where it boasts both economical and performance advantages.
•DuPont (dupont.com) is recommending its Zytel specialty nylons 610, 612 and 1010, which offer varying degrees of flexibility and chemical resistance for fuel and brake lines.
•DSM Engineering Plastics (dsm.com) is offering its EcoPaxx-brand nylon 410 for fuel-line connectors, and Arnitel copolyester TPE as a proven solution for tubes and hoses.
•Solvay Specialty Polymers (solvayplastics.com) is offering its Amodel polyphthalamide (PPA) and Ixef polyarylimide (MXD6 nylon) for fuel-line connectors and glycol-tubing connectors.
•Ticona Engineering Polymers (ticona.com) offers Hostaform and Celcon acetal copolymers and Fortron PPS resins, both of which are typically less costly than nylon 12 and are already used in fuel lines and