Carmakers, Suppliers to Discuss Resin Crisis
Executives from carmakers and auto suppliers are holding an emergency meeting in suburban Detroit on Tuesday to discuss the global shortage of PA-12 resin caused by a fatal explosion at an Evonik Industries plant in Germany on March 31.
The high-performance resin is used in automotive fuel systems and brake lines. Evonik's plant produced about half the world's supply of another chemical needed to make PA-12.
Other PA-12 suppliers say they are already running at or near full capacity and won't be able to help ease the shortage. Last week TI Automotive Chairman William Kozyra warned that vehicle production is almost certain to be disrupted in the next few weeks. TI Automotive supplies fuel systems to virtually all the world's major carmakers.
Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota tell Bloomberg News they are assessing the crisis but are not yet experiencing shortages. Chemical producers say they may be able to substitute other materials.
Deutsche Bank AG analyst Rod Lache says automakers may benefit from by their experience last year in coping with parts shortages after Japan's earthquake and tsunami and Thailand's floods.
I'm not talking about a plastic Revell model of a '57 Chevy, but a real vehicle, one that rolls off an assembly line in 1999 with another 99,999 just like it right behind. Is it possible, or is this just a fantasy of the marketing department at Elmer's?
Eaton has found ways to save weight by using plastics and metal together in differential parts, and to leverage composites exclusively for applications in its superchargers for small, sub-liter engines.
We're not going to make the case that moving away from plastic body panels caused the ultimate demise of Saturn. But if you take away the front and rear fascias, it is somewhat difficult to come up with cars that have a significant use of polymers for exterior body panels. Here are some notable ones.