'Life-saving' medical applications get priority in elastomer force majeure

05/17/2012

Arkema feels confident it can continue to meet demands to medical customers "for life-saving applications" of Pebax elastomer although customers in other markets, such as sporting goods and automotive, will need to use "extremely close" alternatives.

A force majeure on Pebax was declared last month due to the explosion March 31 at an Evonik plant that produced cyclododecatriene (CDT), a raw material used to produce lactam 12. The plant was the largest producer of CDT in the world and is expected to be closed until the end of the year. Lactam 12 is the primary monomer used to make nylon 12 (polyamide 12, or PA 12) and Pebax elastomers.

"There is a lot of panic among the medical customers because they would require several months to validate new materials," Aurelien Paumier, director of the Technical Polymers Business Unit, Arkema (King of Prussia, PA) said in an interview with PlasticsToday. "They would feel safer if they had one, or even two, years' worth of inventory, but that is not possible."...
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