Don’t Let Shortages Get You Down
As discussed in the January 2022 article “Alternatives Exist to Source Parts,” some producers and contractors in North America may have found themselves in a pickle when it came to winter equipment repair if they hadn’t planned months in advance. For the 2022 season, the possibility of postponing repairs, upgrades, and maintenance until parts and components could be made available had become reality. Luckily, as the article detailed, there are ways around bottlenecks and blockages.
The team at Albarrie, a vertically integrated filter bag supplier in North America, detailed another option for asphalt producers and baghouse manufacturers who are enduring a global Nomex/meta-aramid fiber shortage. Their staff writer explained two of the global issues factoring into the supply shortage that’s affecting the availability of high-heat fabrics for particulate dust filtration.
“Factories belonging to two of the four major suppliers in Zheng Zhou, China, have been part of the city-wide lockdown since 2021,” they wrote. “The city-wide lockdown…[added] to the strain on supply in September/October 2021. The shutdowns are responsible for the raw material shortage of polymers and finishing agents for coating fibers.”
The Albarrie team also cited the Dow and Dupont merger and subsequent expansion of America’s 5G wireless network as contributing to the shortage of fibers. “Dow and Dupont; one of the largest manufacturers of plastics, and finishing agents are unable to meet their usual demand for raw materials needed to manufacture fibers,” they wrote.
An alternative solution for 2022, according to Richard Watson, a purchasing manager at Albarrie Canada, is to replace your meta-aramid filter bags with “Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS) or Polyimide (P84) fabrics, depending on the plant’s environmental conditions and materials processing.”
Albarrie also offers a cleaning service designed to prolong existing baghouse filter bag life while the bags remain in place. The company offers virtual consultations. For more information, visit the Albarrie website.
Not all aramid fiber types have been affected by the shortages discussed above. Mike Scardina of Surface Tech explained the aramid fibers required for the company’s ACE XP Polymer Fiber® and other asphalt mix-strengthening aramids are a different grade than the one in short supply. “From a raw materials standpoint, we’re in very good shape,” he said. “We don’t expect any problems in 2022.”
Industry professionals seeking alternatives for binder modification in areas where polymers have become difficult to attain are seeing fibers—for binder modification—as an alternative. “We are a viable tool as we address supply for the asphalt industry,” Scardina said. For more information, visit here.
While discussions of alternatives to what a producer or mix designer is accustomed may not be comfortable, it’s good to know suppliers are thinking ahead to provide options and solutions to help producers and contractors through supply chain issues. For this month’s product gallery, take a look at some products and services lined up to help you with your day-to-day goals.