If you have not already seen price increases on nylon 66, you will soon. Nylon 66 is in tight supply and prices are increasing anywhere from $.10-$.50/lb depending on the grade.
There have been seven force-majeures declared on nylon 66 in 2018. The shortage is being caused by a shortage of adiponitrile (ADN) which is an ingredient used to make nylon 66.
Believe it or not, some of the reason for the shortage stems from Hurricane Harvey which hit the Texas gulf coast in August of last year. There are only 4 plants in the world that make ADN. Two of the plants are on the Texas gulf coast and they both went down before the hurricane hit. These plants don’t just turn back on with a switch, it takes a lot of time to get them started back up and up to full production.
The other factor is increasing demand for nylon 66. This is partly because of the improved US economy and partly because of light-weighting efforts being carried out by the auto industry which is causing a lot of parts that were previously make of metal to be switched to lighter engineering thermoplastics like nylon.
At some point, reduced supply and increased demand clash and unfortunately, we have passed that point.
It will likely take several years for more supply to come on line, in the meantime expect higher prices and longer lead times.
One option that some processors might explore is switching to nylon 6. Nylon 6 has reduced heat resistance but has higher impact and better surface appearance. Nylon 6 supplies are not great either but it is not as tight as 66. I have not seen any nylon 6 price increases this year as of yet. If a lot of people switch their nylon 66 applications to 6, we could see supply become very tight on 6 as well.