CDT Cartastrophe: No Quick Fix In Sight

cdt cartastrophe no quick fix in sight

Officially, carmakers around the world are putting on their best “what me worry” faces and say that they are unaffected by a sudden shortage of a key component, caused by a factory explosion in Germany. Behind closed doors, they are freaking out. Carmakers and suppliers met in Detroit for an emergency summit under the auspices of the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIGP). After the meeting, the first admissions of impending doom surfaced.

In a statement issued after the meeting, AIGP said:

“It is now clear that a significant portion of the global production capacity of PA-12 (nylon 12) has been compromised. In the automotive industry, PA-12 is used pervasively in coatings and connector applications for fuel handling and braking systems. These are highly engineered products produced via very complex manufacturing processes.”

Cyclododecatriene, or CDT, is an vital ingredient in the manufacture of resin that is used in essential automotive components, such as brake and fuel lines. Researcher IHS said in a comment after the meeting:

“The impression is that this is very much a rapidly developing situation and the full implications of the stoppage of CDT production has yet to be properly understood. However, the rapid response of the US industry suggests that problem is serious and has no easy or quick fix.

If suitable alternative materials already existed, they would already be in widespread use and there would be no discussion of a crisis. How easy it will be to find an alternative resin that does not use CDT is open to some conjecture. Given the component testing and approval processes employed by the OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, it is unlikely to be the work of a moment to find or develop a substitutable alternative material.”

In other words, as noted yesterday, while it can take several months for CDT production to be restored, looking for a replacement will most likely take longer. Even DuPont, supplier of replacement candidate polyphthalamide (PPA) is careful. DuPont spokesperson Carole Davies said:

“We’re working very closely with our customers to understand the issue and where we have materials that can help. There are a number of solutions that automakers are looking at. There are other materials that some automakers use, some don’t. It’s just a matter of finding alternatives that work, getting them qualified and, hopefully, they’ll be enough at the end of the day to get everyone through it.”

Participants of the AIGP meeting characterized the mood as “extremely serious.” They noted “significant concern over the potential for production disruptions in the component industry, with obvious knock-on effects for the OEMs.” The other worry: The material is not used exclusively by the automotive sector. Demand from other manufacturing industries could trigger a run on the ersatz-CDT, if and when it has been found.

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  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Apr 19, 2012

    Back in the early 90's there was a fire at a Sumitomo plant in Japan which made the moulding compound used in microchips and other semiconductors. Panic ensued, and although the replacemnt materials performed poorly, the silver lining was that Sumitomo re-built their factory in record time, and other players entered the market. Now, I'm not comparing brake components to microcontrollers...the point I'm driving across is that other chemical companies will wake up to the realization that there is money to be made, and the monopoly of this particular German plant will be gone.

    • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Apr 19, 2012

      This supplier is not likely to be a monopolist, unless he has a trick process for producing this material. In the industry everybody knows who the competition, and basically knows what the other guys price level is anyway. If his completion had a competitive business plan, they would have eaten into his business.

  • Dusterdude Dusterdude on Apr 19, 2012

    Someone else will pick up slack....but believe me, the resin guys take advantage of any "bad news stories" like no other industry. They ALWAYS make sure they are selling to the highest possible penny per pound -- and could care less about any upstream effect it would have on demand destruction etc. They are all getting better at "controlling supply" to ensure if it ever exceeds demand, it is for a very brief period of time!

  • Inside Looking Out Cadillac now associates with rap music. In the past it was all about rock'n'roll. Rap is environmentally friendlier than rock'n'roll.
  • EBFlex This is nothing compared to what Ford is doing. The fake lightning is seeing massive price increases for 2023. Remember how they self pleasured themselves about the fake lightning starting under $40k? In 2023, the price jumps by a very Tesla like $7,000. And that’s not the biggest price jump. And much less talked about, the government fleet discounts are going away. So for a basic 3.3L Explorer, the price is jumping $8,500. S basic F150 is also now $8,500 more. Im sure the same people that complained about the oil companies making “obscene profits” will say the same thing about Ford.
  • Bobbysirhan Sometimes it seems like GM has accepted that the customers they still have are never going to come to their senses and that there aren't any new dupes on the horizon, so they might as well milk their existing cows harder.
  • Buickman how about LowIQ?
  • Gemcitytm Corey: As a native SW Ohioan, Powel Crosley, Jr. has always been an object of fascination for me. While you're correct that he wanted most of all to build cars, the story of the company he created with his brother Lewis, The Crosley Corporation, is totally fascinating. In the early 20's, Crosley was the nation's leading manufacturer of radio receivers. In the 1930's, working from an idea brought to him by one of his engineers, Crosley pioneered the first refrigerator with shelves in the door (called, of course, the "Shelvador"). He was the first to sell modular steel kitchen cabinets (made for him by Auburn in Connersville). He brought out the "IcyBall" which was a non-electric refrigerator. He also pioneered in radio broadcasting with WLW Radio in Cincinnati (wags said the calls stood for either "Whole Lotta Watts" or "World's Lowest Wages"). WLW was one of the first 50,000 watt AM stations and in 1934, began transmitting with 500,000 watts - the most powerful station in the world, which Mr. Crosley dubbed "The Nation's Station". Crosley was early into TV as well. The reason the Crosley operation died was because Mr. Crosley sold the company in 1945 to the AVCO Corporation, which had no idea how to market consumer goods. Crosley radios and TVs were always built "to a price" and the price was low. But AVCO made the products too cheaply and their styling was a bit off the wall in some cases. The major parts of the Crosley empire died in 1957 when AVCO pulled the plug. For the full story of Crosley, read "Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire That Transformed the Nation" by Rutsy McClure (a grandson of Lewis Crosley), David Stern and Michael A. Banks, Cincinnati: Clerisy Press, ISBN-13: 978-1-57860-291-9.