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Automakers May Sidestep Resin Shortage

Meeting today could identify chemical alternatives.

by on Apr.30, 2012

A fire at the Evonik plant in Marl, Germany killed two and created a potential shortage of key resins.

What seemed, just last week, a crisis that could bring the global auto industry to its knees may actually turn out to be little more than an annoyance, or so industry leaders could learn today.

A late March explosion at a chemical plant in Germany left automakers scrambling when it appeared they might soon run out of a resin called PA-12 – alternately known as Nylon-12 – something with applications in everything from fuel tanks to seat fabrics.  The problem is that the German firm, Evonik, is the world’s largest producer of PA-12 and a precursor chemical that other manufacturers use to make the material.

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By mid-March some automotive suppliers were already warning of impending shortages – triggering emergency meetings around the globe, including one in Detroit that brought together more than 200 automotive executives charged with finding either new supplies or substitute materials.


No Quick Solution to Resin Shortage Likely

GM, other makers could soon face production snags.

by on Apr.19, 2012

Assembly plants around the world, including this GM facility in Lansing, MI, could soon be idled by the shortage of a key resin.

General Motors and other automakers around the world may be facing production shortages in the coming weeks as a quick solution to the shortage of a key resin seems unlikely.

Alternately known as Nylon-12, or PA-12, the major supplier of the material was heavily damaged in a fire and explosion that killed two workers on March 31.  The resin is used in a wide variety of automotive parts and components, from fuel tanks to seat fabric, and was already in short supply even before the incident at German supplier Evonik last month.

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More than 200 auto industry representatives gathered in Detroit this week to seek solutions but came away realizing that alternative suppliers don’t have the capacity to cover for the damaged German factory.

“We remain in close contact with supplier associations in Canada, Mexico, and the US, and are reaching out to engage additional companies to help move the process along as quickly and seamlessly as possible,” said a statement from AIAG, the Automotive Industry Action Group, following the summit meeting.


Resin Plant Fire Latest Disaster to Threaten Global Auto Industry

Could lead to severe worldwide production shortages.

by on Apr.17, 2012

The shortage of the resin could create extensive problems as it is used in everything from fuel tanks to seat fabrics.

It’s been argued that the beating of a butterfly’s wings in Africa could trigger a hurricane in New Orleans. Anyone who wonders about the theory of consequences only has to look at how last year’s tidal wave in Japan and a flood in Thailand nearly brought the global industry to its knees – repeatedly.

Now, it seems, the industry is facing another potentially serious threat. A March 31 explosion and fire at a German plant run by Evonik Industries AG threatens to result in a severe shortage of a critical resin, known as PA-12, needed for a wide range of automotive parts and components – from fuel tanks to seat fabrics.

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As many as 200 automotive industry representatives were expected to meet at a secret location in the Detroit suburbs today, according to several of those participating, to discuss the issue and try to hammer out an industry-wide strategy for dealing with the shortages.

In a letter to customers last week, Bill Kozyra, chairman of TI Automotive, warned, “The shortage is real and immediate. The possibility of production interruptions at some of your facilities in the next few weeks is high.”