Last April, automotive executives from around the world met in emergency sessions after learning that the world’s biggest production plant for CDT (cyclododecatriene) was wiped out in an explosion in Marl, Germany.
CDT is the feedstock used to make nylon (polyamide) 12 – a niche plastic used in fuel systems.
Problem was it was sole sourced and supply chain managers had failed to do their homework and have alternatives qualified and ready to go.
Very quietly alternatives have been developed, and it appears that the much-publicized possibility of automotive shutdowns starting next month have been avoided. Suppliers are generally playing it close to the vest and not discussing specific products they are using in place of polyamide 12.
One exception is ARaymond, a global supplier of automotive fasteners and connectors. The company, based in Grenoble, France, is using a new 30% glass fiber-reinforced polyamide (PA) 6/10 from BASF designated Ultramid S3WG6 Balance in quick connectors for fuel lines. The material has hydrolysis resistance, and is said to be exceptionally resistant to fuel.
The mechanical properties after storage for over 2,000 hours at elevated temperatures in biofuels such as E 24, B30, or B100, for instance, are at a level comparable to those of PA 12 GF 30, according to BASF. The material also passes the typical automotive tests for environmental stress cracking resistance in the presence of zinc chloride (SAE 2644, FMVSS 106).