Plastic manufacturing is in the grip of a worldwide PA 6.6 shortage, due to supply limits of one of its key component parts, Adiponitrile (ADN) and with current demand for production on the increase, it’s up to us as a leading UK automotive plastic parts manufacturer to find realistic and long-term alternatives for our automotive clients.

Ascend, the world’s largest maker of this popular nylon plastic, announced its 11th declaration of force majeure in the last 12 months.  Highlighting the universal shortage, inadequate production and no supply buffer causing the industry to question the ongoing reliability of PA 6.6 production. 

BEC’s Head of Design & Innovation Paul Holland explains “There are only 4 major plants in the world producing ADN, plants which can’t easily be replicated, taking years to make, so any investment in this market is a gamble.  Although production is set to increase from 2020, with new plants scheduled for build, we have a duty to fulfil automotive client orders now, so we and our clients aren’t held to ransom by price rises.”

With its fantastic technical properties, resistant to heat, oil and grease, the automotive industry has come to rely on PA 6.6 “under the bonnet” – ideal for use inside the engine compartment, in filtration, air supply and cooling systems.  Paul continues “we appreciate that the time restraints on approval processes in the automotive industry and the requirement for replacement materials to meet the same functional specifications make it complex to find alternatives but we’re already working with car manufacturers to source a more reliable supply of material.”

As leading automotive filter manufacturers, BEC’s design and innovation team are looking at alternative filter media to replace existing Nylon PA 6.6 meshes.  The material cost of filter mesh is low compared to the cost of manufacturing, because a lot of work goes into the weaving, so price rises have been minimal so far.

For our automotive filter moulders, moulding components out of Nylon 6.6, there are alternative plastics available, subject to client’s product requirements, budget constraints, retesting, customer approval and sign off procedures etc.

However, here at BEC, we’re not overly concerned about continuity of supply.  Our manufacturing expertise and extensive product knowledge means we’re well-placed to offer qualified, expert materials advice according to client’s budget, ethos and product use.

We continue to demonstrate strong relationships with raw material suppliers, so we can continue to suggest suitable, reliable alternatives.  By working with the biggest precision woven mesh manufacturer in the world, we can offer our clients a filter media with 6 months’ worth of secured raw material feedstocks.

So, if you’re looking for continuity of material production or just want to discuss the best alternative materials available email or call 01425 613131 today.

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