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4/23/2012 12:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Plant Fire Threatens Global Auto Output

An explosion at a factory where a chemical used in automotive brake and fuel lines is produced has forced automakers to search for replacement supplies, Bloomberg reported.

General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co. have all said that their suppliers are seeking other options for a resin called PA-12, which is used in the manufacture of metal lines that carry brake fluid and fuel. German chemical maker Evonik Industries AG is a leading supplier of the resin, but a March 31 explosion at the company’s plant that makes the product cut the world’s supply in half, Bloomberg said.

However, the head of U.S. chemical producer DuPont Co. said the company may be able to fill some of that void.

According to Bloomberg, DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman said during a conference call that polymers developed by her company are “well-known” and are already used in a “wide variety” of applications. Still, she noted that automakers’ engineers may need to test those materials to determine if any are suitable replacements for PA-12. She said the length of that testing process “depends on whether they know the polymer or not.”

More than 200 executives from automakers including GM, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen AG and their suppliers met April 17 at a summit near Detroit to find alternative materials and parts and avoid losing vehicle output, Bloomberg said.

By Light & Medium Truck

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