DETROIT (April 19, 3:45 p.m. ET) — The makers of Stainmaster carpet may help prevent a shutdown of automotive production resulting from a recent shortage of resin.
Wichita, Kan.-based Invista Inc. confirmed that its Victoria, Texas, plant is working at capacity to produce cyclododecatriene or CDT— a key precursor for nylon 12 resin.
“We're doing what we can to fill the immediate need,” said Jodie Stutzman, manager of business and external communications at Invista. “The CDT operations we have are running hard, and we're working to make available as much of the material as possible right now.”
Stutzman declined to identify auto companies purchasing CDT from Invista.
The shortage stems from a March 31 explosion at Germany's Evonik Industries AG that killed two employees. The nylon 12 resin made from CDT is used to make fuel and brake tubing components.
Evonik and French competitor Arkema SA, which purchases CDT from Evonik, account for about half the world's supply of nylon 12, according to the research firm IHS Chemical.
Bill Kozyra, CEO of Auburn Hills, Mich.-based TI Automotive Inc., recognized the threat and issued a letter April 12 to Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG, according to a Bloomberg report.
On April 17, nearly 200 executives from eight automakers and 50 suppliers met in Troy, Mich. to discuss the impact and potential production shutdowns.
Invista's additional production of CDT “would be the most direct solution to the CDT shortage,” said Paul Blanchard, senior principal analyst for IHS Chemical. “This can help avoid a lot of replacement engineering activities.”
Stutzman said Invista does have limited excess capacity at its Texas plant.
Invista is the only U.S. producer of CDT, Blanchard said.
Invista was formed as a subsidiary in 2003 by DuPont and named DuPont Textiles and Interiors. The company was acquired by the Wichita-based conglomerate Koch Industries Inc. for $4.4 billion.
Automakers and suppliers are in contact with alternative makers of nylon 12, including Arkema, Japan's Ube Industries Ltd. and Switzerland's Ems-Chemie Holding AG.
DuPont Automotive in Troy is also working on alternatives to nylon 12.
Automakers have not announced any planned shutdowns or cuts in their sales forecasts.