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For more than a year, a nylon-12 tubing supply shortage has put a glitch into extruder processors, but now NewAge Industries, a tubing extruder in Southampton, PA, says it has plenty to meet demand from its customers. The company "has worked diligently" with its partners to obtain materials and finished tubing, and now has an ample supply of nylon-12 tubing at a time when many companies are still scrambling to source and manufacture the product.

Clare Goldsberry

February 27, 2012

3 Min Read
Tubing extruder overcomes nylon shortage

For more than a year, a nylon-12 tubing supply shortage has put a glitch into extruder processors, but now NewAge Industries, a tubing extruder in Southampton, PA, says it has plenty to meet demand from its customers. The company "has worked diligently" with its partners to obtain materials and finished tubing, and now has an ample supply of nylon-12 tubing at a time when many companies are still scrambling to source and manufacture the product.

A complex network of issues caused the shortage, according to Catherine Wallace, director of purchasing for NewAge Industries. First, many nylons, including nylon-12, are petroleum-based, and oil supplies, demand and prices "have been volatile in recent years," she noted. "In addition to nylon, raw material costs for PVC, polyethylene, and fluoropolymer have seen increases, and in some cases shortages."NewAge-Nylon-Tubing-Inventory.jpg

New Age Industries nylon tubing

Secondly, the solar energy market took its toll on supply levels because Nylon is a solar panel component. However, usage in that industry has now tapered off. Third, nylon-12 is a commonly used material for fiber optic cable jacketing, and expansive cabling projects have affected supplies.

"We've been working on this situation in earnest for months," said Wallace. "There are a limited number of nylon-12 manufacturers, and demand simply outpaced supply."

While NewAge Industries' supplies of the tubing are good, Wallace's projections for the future (beyond 2012), are that Nylon-12 compound supplies "will be uncertain," she said in a statement for PlasticsToday. "Many nylon and other compound manufacturers are actively seeking more profitable markets for their products. Over the past few years I have learned that no one really wants to make extrusion grade compounds of almost any type, since there is not enough demand to make it a profitable market," she told PlasticsToday. "Should a market rebound or a new market emerge, I anticipate that the manufacturers will pursue the more profitable markets at the expense of extrusion compounds."

Wallace added that NewAge Industries has procured enough compound to meet its 2012 supply requirements, and it is taking steps to maintain inventory. "We will keep our tubing inventory high to cover short-term market changes," she said.

The downside to that however, is that because the company has kept its inventory levels so high, it will take awhile for NewAge Industries to get rid of the higher priced inventory. "I would hope we would have better pricing within the next six months or so, however I am cautious due to global issues such as the global economy, oil prices, Iran vs. Israel, Syria, etc.," Wallace explained. "Much of the Caprolactam - sometimes abbreviated as 'lactam' - is a major ingredient in Nylon-12 and comes from China. Should something happen in the Middle East, and the U.S. and Europe finds itself on the opposite side of China, supply issues could change in a heartbeat."

NewAge's nylon-12 tubing, Nylotube provides light weight combined with corrosion, abrasion, and chemical resistance, and withstands repeated flexing and is well-suited for retractable coils. Nylotube also offers very low moisture absorption, excellent bend radii and pressure ratings. Applications include pneumatics and a wide variety of fluid transfer.

Nylotube is stocked in two grades - flexible and semi-rigid. Inch sized up 1 inch O.D. and metric sizes up to 12mm O.D. are available. Six colors are offered, making line identification quick and easy. NewAge also stocks nylon-11 in limited supply.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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