On March 31st Evonik experienced an explosion and fire at their Cyclododecatriene (CDT) plant in Marl Germany. One of the key product lines using CDT as an intermediate is PA 12 Laser Sintering powders. Two employees were killed in the explosion and it took 130 firefighters ~15 hours to control the fire, so it was a tragic and major event. As a result Evonik has declared Force Majeure for PA 12 materials. Evonik’s PA 12 is the principal PA 12 raw material used by all suppliers of LS materials.
ALM uses these materials as a basic raw material to produce our 600 series of powders such as PA 650 and PA 615-GS. It is also the base for EOS PA 2201 and PA 2200, which ALM also sells. We have a certain amount of these materials in our supply pipeline. ALM is not accepting any orders from new customers for materials based on Evonik PA 12 raw materials until the situation is clarified, and we will limit sales of these materials, based on historic usage over the last six months. Obviously, the scope of this incident is outside of our control, but please be assured that we are working to minimize the limitations to your powder supply.
We would encourage you to save powder where you can. Please try to optimize your refresh procedures and consider lengthening part lead times in order to more fully pack your builds and conserve powder. Our lab and support teams can provide you with assistance at no charge with part cake and over flow analysis to help you accomplish these tasks.
ALM has alternative materials, such as PA 250 which is based on nylon 12 from different sources, or PA 860 which is based on nylon 11. When compared to the PA 650, PA 250 has outstanding recyclability, excellent part detail and surface finish. PA 250 is more difficult to process and require tight temperature controls on your machine. To help with this issue, ALM is working with Integra on a plan to make upgrades available at favorable pricing to improve temperature control capabilities of you machines. Also, they will offer machine calibrations and preventive maintenance at favorable pricing to help improve machine efficiency.
PA 860 PA 11 powder has been formulated for easy processing and parts produced from PA 860 exhibit outstanding mechanical properties when compared to the PA 650. No double scanning is required. The residual PA 11 monomer is low, so there is less potential for outgassing and potential fogging on the laser window. We also offer various filled materials based on both PA 11 and PA 12 that are not based on Evonik powders.
ALM has been working to approve other alternative powders and we were very close to success prior to this unfortunate accident. We are accelerating this development process and should have the first quantities available in the next 90 to 120 days.
For more information, visit: www.alm-llc.com