Fallout Of Plant Explosion Spreads From Diapers To Cars
When a Japanese chemical factory blew up over the weekend, it looked like baby bottoms would be most affected. Nippon Shokubai is one of the world’s largest producers of acrylic acid, which in turn is a key ingredient for the making of disposable diapers. Apart from causing a diaper dearth, the explosion also “may send shock waves through the auto industry,” as The Nikkei [sub] says.
Acrylic ester is used in auto paints, and especially in top coats. Kansai Paint Co. and Nippon Paint Co supply more than 90 percent of the automotive paint used in Japan, and relied on Nippon Shokubai for more than 50 percent of acrylic ester purchases. Companies are trying to buy acrylic ester from overseas suppliers, but “it will take several months” for carmakers to test the quality of a new paint, a Kansai Paint official told The Nikkei.
According to the Tokyo paper, “the impact may spread to other areas of the auto industry: The Himeji factory also made an automotive catalyst for exhaust control, as well as special additives for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resins, a material widely used in car interiors and other applications.”
(Hat tip to Daniel Duesentrieb.)
" Companies are trying to buy acrylic ester from overseas suppliers, but “it will take several months” for carmakers to test the quality of a new paint, a Kansai Paint official told The Nikkei." As if the acrylic ester used by DuPont, PPG and BASF plants in North America isn't just as good. Must preserve the notion of Japanese technical superiority. I wouldn't be surprised if the carbon fiber that Toyota uses for the LFA starts out as DuPont acrylonitrile.
This should have less of an impact than the German factory fire at Evonik Industries earlier this year that caused the PA12 shortage. We had some apocalyptic predictions of factories having to stop due to the lack of PA12, but ultimately the industry just moved to PA612 based grades for automotive fuel line pipes. I believe there was some modifications in wall thickness of the pipelines, but we didn't have anywhere near the disruptions that was originally expected.
From the picture, it appears that 'fire truck' is being used quite literally!