Yet, the supply chain for PA6/66 is under extreme, long-term pressure due to a lack of the key raw material 66 salt. Since the global supply of 66 salt is short, it is placing pressure on the pricing and availability of PA6/66.
We expect these supply pressures to last for several years. After seven Force Majeure declarations were made across the U.S. and the EU in the first two months of 2018, it became clear that the current total capacity of 66 salt is insufficient to meet market demands. Suppliers of engineering plastics have been discussing alternative materials with their customers ever since.
Akulon XS is a very good alternative for PA6/66 in blown films. It provides exceptional mechanical strength and durability with easier processing than PA6 due to its slower crystallization rate. The material is a PA6-based co-polymer that works well for blown film production because it produces a stable bubble, fewer wrinkles, and optical and film quality similar to PA6/66.
Since the material demonstrates higher mechanical and barrier properties than PA6/66, it provides the opportunity to downgauge the thickness of the PA layer to further reduce weight, cost and waste. It has a high blow-up ratio, and the properties of the film in use are similar to PA6. This makes it easier and more cost-effective to make films with improved properties. And it works with your existing dies, so there is no need to re-tool your set-up.