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The precursors of the raw materials used in the manufacture of SMC, BMC and GRP parts have undergone explosive price increases in the past few months.
According to a report on price increases by the AVK-TV (German Composites Federation for Reinforced Plastics), the prices for precursors used in the manufacture of unsaturated polyester resins, one of the major raw materials for SMC/BMC, have increased up to 40% since the beginning of the year. One of the major factors contributing to this problem, other than the high oil prices, is problems concerning the supply of important base chemicals such as benzene, where the capacity is tight.
Raw material manufacturers are being obliged to pass on part of the raw material price increases to their customers. As a result, price increases are exoected for SMC/BMC of around 15-20% and 6-8% for finished parts.
The manufacturers of fibre reinforced thermoplastics, especially GMT and LFT, find themselves in a similar situation. The cost increases for these products in the past months were instigated by increases in the price of polypropylene following a drastic rise in the C3 price. As a result, AVK-TV see cost increases of 13 – 15% for these products as well.
Passing on raw material price increases is problematic. Dr. Uwe Bültjer, managing director of the AVK-TV, is concerned about the effect of large price increases on the mainly middle sized SMC/BMC manufacturers and part producers, who may be caught between the conflicting pressures of raw material and automobile manufacturers, which could quickly result in financial difficulties.
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