Brake Line Material Shortage Could Cause Problems

Brake lines need to be flexible while keeping moisture out and the brake fluid from damaging the inside of the line. The material that makes this possible is PA-12 and the factory in Germany that makes PA-12 had a nasty explosion last month.

The Evonik plant in western Germany made at least a quarter of the world’s PA-12, a nylon resin used in fuel and brake lines and hundreds of other auto parts. It’s even used in household and sporting goods. The plant also makes 70 percent of the global supply of CDT, a key ingredient of PA-12 that’s used by other companies that make PA-12.

The good news is that automakers are trying alternative materials for parts other than brake lines.

Loss of resin used in auto parts threatens industry’s recovery

By Tom Krisher
The Associated Press
General Motors employees work on a van assembly line at a plant in Wentzville, Mo. The U.S. auto industry faces a shortage of parts that could crimp a historic turnaround. (Associated Press file)

DETROIT — The owner of a German factory that makes a key resin used in auto parts said Thursday that the plant will be out of commission until at least October.

The Evonik Industries AG plant was badly damaged in a March 31 explosion and fire, setting off a mad scramble by global automakers to find substitute materials. A shortage of the resin is threatening to cut global car and truck production just as the U.S. auto sales recovery is accelerating. Automakers and parts companies are testing substitutes but aren’t sure whether they’ll be ready to go in time to hold off any auto production cuts.

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