GELEEN, Netherlands (Feb. 25, 2011)—Customers of EPDM produced by DSM Elastomers are scrambling after the synthetic rubber producer declared force majeure Feb. 22 following a power outage that shut down production at the firm's Geleen factory.
The DSM N.V. division said it might be several months before its sales level will be fully restored.
In the U.S., several custom mixers and their customers said they were trying to cope with the halt in supplies. One mixer, expressing the consensus of several, said the problem occurred at an especially inopportune time, as demand has been recovering.
DSM said it experienced a power outage at its Geleen site on Feb. 19. “This happened unexpectedly and outside the control of DSM Elastomers,” the firm said.
Basic operations kept running, although at low rates. The firm said it had to stop its largest reactor for safety concerns. By the time power was available, a large volume of rubber in the process agglomerated, DSM said, and while cleaning operations have begun, they will be tedious and time consuming.
Lanxess A.G. is buying DSM Elastomers for $416 million, but the deal hasn't been concluded yet. DSM's Geleen plant can produce 160,000 metric tons of Keltan EPDM annually, and the firm operations a facility in Triunfo, Brazil, with an annual capacity of 40,000 tons