European and Japanese supplier bodies have drawn their horns in concerning the recent Evonik plant fire that could cause global shortages of the vital Nylon 12 resin, as further details become available as to the explosion itself.
The resin forms a vital element of coatings and connector applications in automotive fuel handling and brake systems, with the Marl factory in Germany a critical cog in its supply worldwide.
Last month’s blast that killed two employees, has led to an immediate global assessment of the implications for the auto industry, with supplier and OEM body, AIAG, in the US, hurriedly convening an urgent meeting to discuss alternatives and any new validation processes.
However, European supplier body, CLEPA declined to comment on the the situation when contacted in Brussels by just-auto, despite some observers suggesting any Nylon 12 shortage could hit the Continent hard – and first.
CLEPA’s Japanese equivalent – JAPIA – was almost as reticent but did concede its members were concerned about the catastrophic events at the Evonik factory.
“They are worried about the situation in Germany,” a JAPIA international department spokeswoman told just-auto from Tokyo. “Many of our member companies ask us about the situation.”
“The situation in Germany – so far [for] a Japanese company it has maybe [an] influence.”
For its part, OESA was more forthcoming, with president and CEO Neil De Koker noting some of his members were running “rather short” of the resin.
It also appears some US suppliers are considering whether or not to divert existing product while the situation is evaluated.
“My feeling is while this is a serious situation, considering global supply, there is going to be a solution that can be implemented with the diversion of existing supplies until the situation gets back into control,” De Koker told just-auto.
Meanwhile, further details have emerged following the explosion at Evonik’s plant that saw the works fire service at the chemicals park, the local fire department in Marl and the works fire service from the Gelsenkirchen-Horst industrial site jointly deploy 130 fire fighters to the site of the blast.
Workers from the government’s disaster relief organisation, THW, were also brought in that evening to provide extra illumination at the plant.
Public authorities used a loudspeaker campaign and radio messages to issue warnings to the local population, while flyers were handed out directly to households in the immediate neighbourhood.
The leaked substance was butadiene, a highly flammable liquid gas classed as a carcinogenic if people are exposed to it for a long period.
A spokesman for the North-Rhein Westphalia government in whose area Marl lies, was not immediately available for comment.