After working to build its North American nylon business, BASF Corp. now intends to take the material beyond the automotive market.
Between early 2003 and late 2005, Florham Park, N.J.-based BASF - a unit of BASF AG of Ludwigshafen, Germany - made three nylon-related acquisitions in North America, buying businesses from Honeywell Inc., Celanese Corp. and Lati USA Inc.
Now, even as automotive growth continues - in new uses such as suspension and gear parts and large-capacity oil pans - BASF is touting its nylon grades in electrical connectors and breakers, as well as in office furniture, BASF's Joe Venner said at the Plastics News Executive Forum, held March 6-8 in Tampa.
Venner, a 22-year BASF veteran, now serves as director of product management and development for engineering plastics.
Automotive - which accounts for 40-50 percent of all injection molded nylon use - remains on the minds of BASF's staff, as witnessed by new designs for nylon seat backs in the Hummer H3 and GMC Envoy, Venner said.
Going into 2006, nylon growth also will be affected by high raw material costs for such feedstocks as benzene and cyclohexane. Upswings in energy prices now have North American nylon selling at prices roughly 45 cents per pound above historic averages, Venner estimated.
``Despite the economic impact from raw materials, nylon has done fairly well,'' he said.