@Ann: Thanks for this informative article on a timely topic. I had heard that Evonik provided feedstock for as much as 80% of the nylon-12 supply, not 40%, as the article states. Of course, even 40% represents many tens of thousands of tons. It's no exaggeration to say that everyone is scrambling for an alternative.
I'm a little surprised you didn't mention Arkema's Rilsan nylon-11, which is based on castor oil and which you covered in an article a couple of months ago. According to that article, it is already being used in fuel line applications.
Schulman's Schulamid nylon-6,12 is another product worth mentioning. It's not renewably sourced, but could potentially be a drop-in replacement for nylon-12 in extruded hoses.
The fact that the industry was able to pull together through AIAG and come up with a common test strategy was a major accomplishment.
It will be interesting to see if any of the substitute materials catch on in the long run, or if everyone will go back to nylon-12 as soon as it becomes available again. There is certainly a potential for long-term use of renewably sourced plastics to increase as a result of this situtation. It all depends on how well they perform and how much they cost.
naperlou, I was surprised to discover that the industry could go through such a shakeup when only one supplier went offline. Apparently, DuPont and others have already been working on replacements for awhile, as the supply has been tightening due to increased demand from other industries: solar and oil/gas.
This situation shows that there are real risks in the global supply chain. While this global supply may be effecient due to scale, there are many possibilities for disruption. I would have throght that the consumers of these materials would have plans in place before something like this happens.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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