Industry moves to develop substitutes for resin in short supply
Auto executives expect the industry to avoid shutdowns from the shortage of an ingredient used in resins for fuel lines, brake lines and other plastic products.
But industry experts say there's no guarantee the proposed solutions will work.
The shortage stems from a March 31 explosion at Evonik Industries AG of Germany. The blast killed two employees and crippled Evonik's production capabilities of cyclododecatriene, the key ingredient in Nylon 12.
After emergency meetings, suppliers and automakers created a plan to replace nylon 12.
Carole Davies, a spokeswoman for DuPont's automotive business in suburban Detroit, said the company will produce alternative resins for suppliers and automakers.
Rodney O'Neal, CEO of Delphi Automotive, predicted to analysts and reporters last week that any hiccups would be minimal.
Delphi uses nylon 12 in a small number of parts and has already moved to line up substitutes, according to media reports.
But J. Scot Sharland, executive director of the Automotive Industry Action Group, said substitute materials need at least three weeks of validation testing before implementation.
Assuming the substitutes are suitable, suppliers and automakers will then test parts made from new materials. That process could take months, industry sources said.
Dave Andrea, a vice president at the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, said it's not clear whether current molding equipment can handle the alternative resins.