By: By David Vink
EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS
March 18, 2013
MANNHEIM, GERMANY — Evonik Industries AG has reassured customers that it will continue to supply the market with PA12 from its cyclododecatriene (CDT) plant in Marl, Germany, following the March 2012 fire which devastated production for a short while.
In February 2013, 10 months after the fire, the company ended the force majeure conditions applied to its Vestamid nylon 12 and associated CDT feedstock material contracts. This followed start of plant rebuilding in June 2012, "mechanical completion" in November 2012, initial re-starting in December 2012 and a 72-hour test running at full output in early February 2013.
Speaking at the VDI plastics in automotive engineering conference in Mannheim, spokesman Olivier Farges dismissed rumors that nylon 12 would no longer be produced in Marl once Evonik's nylon 12 line in Singapore starts up in 2015.
Farges pointed out that the nylon 12 line in Marl was not in close proximity to the CDT line, had not been damaged, and that it is now producing again at full capacity using the just the CDT from the new CDT line in Marl.
During outage of the Marl CDT line, Evonik bought CDT from other CDT producers for its nylon 12 production. As this increased costs, the externally sourced CDT was used only for an "emergency portfolio" of certain products for which there were no alternatives.
Essen, Germany-based Evonik's legal department was closely involved in reviewing critical and less critical applications to ensure "a sure legal basis" for the decisions.
"It was also a big challenge after the accident to go through all customers and OEMs to find possible alternatives", Farges added.
There was one positive aspect derived from the accident, as "some customers learned how special PA12 really is, most customers came back to our Vestamid PA12 materials" he added.
Farges explained that setting up of a Singapore plant was approved in December 2011, namely four months before the Marl accident. Building work had not yet started but the plant should start up in 2015. The original plan had been for a complete line in Singapore for both CDT and nylon 12.
"We have 2013 and 2014 to decide whether the CDT for the Singapore nylon 12 plant should come from Marl, external supply or another Evonik location other than Marl," said Farges. "There are different scenarios under consideration."