With the pandemic not yet under control, there is a feel that the worst is yet to come for polymer buyers.
Glass fibre shortages increase anxiety, adding to an ever expanding list of supply disruptions gripping the polymer industry.
As Europe enters another wave of the virus, disruptions to supplies accumulate, with players switching focus on fiberglass.
In the past few weeks, polymer buyers noted delays induced by a lack of fibreglass, forcing one major nylon producer to declare force majeure (FM).
Players use fibreglass to improve performance of many engineering polymers, such as nylons (PA6/PA66) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT).
Moreover, the automotive sector is a major consumer of many components that contain fibreglass.
With the sector battered by many raw materials issues, worries increased over a major slowdown in production.
It seems fibreglass followed the same trend as other vital markets in the auto supply chain, such as semiconductors.
And polymers, such as nylon resins, also followed a similar pattern.
Indeed, most markets in the polymer supply chain have been following a similar script:
The first wave of the pandemic forced shutdown of production. When the market recovered after the summer, producers struggled to keep up with the pace of demand, and continue to do so.
This is particularly pertinent for fibreglass and indeed nylon production because it takes time to ramp up production once it is down.
And shipping delays and high freight costs made the situation worse.
With fibreglass shortages, the polymer industry takes another step closer to a complete collapse of supply chains.