Polyamide is used in a wide variety of automotive technologies- yarn for airbags and tires; engineering plastics under the hood, transmission elements, cooling circuits, hand brakes, hub caps and shells for exterior mirrors.

Polyamide is not just fabric, yarn, or trim; it is found on a variety of parts under the hood.

We just saw a press report that a unit of Solvay group  declared force majeur on its Polyamide production due to a fire at its plant in Paulinia, Brazil:

“On May 16th, 2012, at around 8.30pm, a fire occurred at our site of Paulinia (SP – Brazil), which severely damaged the electric cabin of our adipic acid production unit. As a consequence, Rhodia Poliamida e Especialidades is obliged to declare Force Majeure. We are currently investigating all possible alternatives to mitigate the impact on our customers. Allocation measures are being elaborated as stipulated by the Force Majeure regulation. Force Majeure will be lifted as soon as normal production activities recover.”- Rhodia press release

Force majeur is  a clause that is included in contracts  to clarify performance obligations when a catastrophe not under  the control of the parties prevents the fulfilling of the contract. In the old days these were often called “Acts of God” clauses.

When we were kids playing hide and seek we had a term for Force Majeure too: Ollie ollie in free. It meant that it was safe to come out from hiding you couldn’t be tagged “it.”

It originated from  ‘All ye,  All ye, outs in free’ taken from the the British usage.

This Rhodia declaration  of force majeure comes less than a month after the explosion and fire at Evonik Industries in Marl Germany  that we discussed here.

Why are we posting about this on a precision machining blog?


If your automotive releases seem to slow down – it may not be due as much to the lack of consumer demand…

…as it is due to the wisdom of single sourcing critical materials and the decision to use lean supply chains.

Force majeure means never having to say you’re sorry…