Supplier to resume production of key chemical used in auto plastics
ESSEN, Germany -- Evonik Industries AG has completed repairs to its CDT feedstock plant in Marl, Germany -- less than eight months after a fatal explosion and fire there created a global shortage of the nylon 12 resin used in many plastic auto parts.
Last spring, Evonik and other makers of nylon 12, France's Arkema SA and Switzerland's Ems-Chemie Holding AG, turned to a contract clause freeing the companies from supplying customers in the event of an unforeseen disaster -- stopping nearly all production of the resin.
The accident led to severe tightness of CDT, causing companies throughout the automotive supply chain to scramble to find replacement materials. CDT is the feedstock used to create the nylon 12 resin, which is used extensively in automotive fuel lines and braking systems.
The industry responded with a series of emergency meetings. Then suppliers and automakers created a plan to quickly replace the resin.
Nylon 12 provides a cadre of properties optimal for use in automotive products. The resin offers high resistance to weathering, cracking and chemicals, like hydraulic fluids, oil, fuels and grease, according to online cable merchant cableorganizer.com. It also dampens noise and vibration, the site said.
The district government in Munster, Germany, has issued an operating permit for the site, officials with Essen-based Evonik announced Tuesday. Repair work at the site was completed by the end of November.
Production of nylon 12 feedstock cyclododecatriene (CDT) should resume by the end of December. Shipments of nylon 12 resin made from CDT produced in Marl are expected to go out in January.
A fire and explosion at the plant on March 31 resulted in the deaths of two workers. The explosion was caused by an overdosage of a catalyst used to make CDT, according to an independent investigation commissioned by Evonik. An investigation by the Essen attorney general's office remains ongoing.
Evonik also implemented additional safety measures at the plant that had been recommended by an independent institute hired by the firm after the accident.
Evonik has annual sales of almost $19 billion. The firm employs more than 33,000 worldwide.