An explosion last month at a German factory cut the supply of a critical ingredient in fuel and brake lines for automobiles, leaving carmakers looking for alternatives. And they may have found a new source of the chemical — cyclododecatriene (CDT), used in PA-12 nylon resins — in an unlikely place.
Invista, a Wichita, Kan.-based company with carpet fiber production facilities worldwide and the owner of the Stainmaster brand, is receiving requests from automakers for the chemical, reports USA Today.
An Invista facility in Victoria, Texas, has provided some CDT to carmakers, but it has only limited amounts of the chemical available beyond that already reserved for its primary customers.
Still, Invista said it would attempt to manufacture as much CDT as possible to meet the new demand.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) has reported that its network of suppliers has already experienced some impact from the shortage of CDT.
Other automakers, including Ford (NYSE:F) and Chrysler, have not reported any effects on their operations so far. But analysts predict that the entire industry could face production slowdowns if a new sources of CDT aren’t located fast.