A sub-group meeting of the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) is looking to secure OEM approval today (30 April) for resin alternatives, following the fatal fire at the Evonik factory in Marl, Germany.
The plant blaze has caused widespread global concern as automakers struggle to find alternatives to the Nylon 12 resin used in critical coatings and connector applications for fuel handling and brake systems.
A crisis meeting was convened last week by AIAG for OEMs and suppliers at its Southfield, Michigan headquarters, with the same venue being used today for the specialist working group.
“We are meeting again today to come up with an abbreviated plan for alternatives for resin,” AIAG director of business development, David Lalain told just-auto from Southfield. “We hope to get an agreement of the OEMs today and publish a document to help speed the replacements.
“The approval process they hope to get today would bring the minimum testing to three weeks – hopefully it is minimum disruption.”
The urgency of the situation can be gauged by Evonik’s suggestion last week of an earliest possible restart date for the partially-destroyed Nylon 12 site of October this year.
However, Lalain noted Ford’s CFO and Chrysler’s CEO had expressed confidence the break in supply would not have “a major impact,” despite the business development director’s assessment the industry would “definitely be short of PA12” for a while.
The AIAG director added his organisation had been working on identifying potential supply chain problems for a year following the catastrophic tsunami in Japan in 2011.
“We are looking to increase our understanding of the sub-tier suppliers and their development needs – what weaknesses there are in the supply chain,” he said.
“One of the first actions of that will be North American-centric – a customs partnership against terrorism that will require greater knowledge. It is CTPAT [customs trade partnership against terrorism, in the US]. On the Canadian side it is called PIP – partners in protection.”
Lalain added US truck and heavy vehicle manufacturers were also working with AIAG on the resin alternative issue as well as with the Society of Automotive Engineers.
The AIAG’s previous meeting brought together a range of OEMs such as Honda, Chrysler, Ford and Volkswagen but also a swath of suppliers including BASF, Delphi, DuPontAutomotive and Martinrea International.