The Growing Demand of Caprolactam and its Market Overview
An in-depth analysis of caprolactam is provided in the blog that follows definition, production process and pricing analysis. The blog also discusses the major players and market drivers in the sector.
Caprolactam is a crystalline cyclic amide, which appears to be clear to milky white in colour. It has a soft, and quite disagreeable odour. It is highly soluble in water, oxygenated solvents, chlorinated solvents as well as in some hydrocarbons. The chemical formula of caprolactam is C6H11NO and its molecular weight is 113.16 g/mol.
It is primarily used to produce synthetic fibres. The melting point of caprolactam is 70 °C. The contact can lead to irritation and burning to the nose, throat, eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, because it is toxic in nature.
Production Process of Caprolactam
- From Phenol: Phenol is hydrogenated to create cyclohexanone, which is then converted to create cyclohexane oxime using hydroxylamine. In the presence of sulfuric acid, this molecule goes through a Beckmann rearrangement to produce caprolactam. This process is used to synthesis 90% of caprolactam.
- From Cyclohexane: Cyclohexane is converted in this procedure to cyclohexanone or cyclohexanol. Cyclohexanol is further converted into cyclohexanone. Then caprolactam is produced by cyclohexanone reacting with water and ammonia.
- From Benzene: With this process, benzene is hydrogenated to create cyclohexane. The next step is the oxidation of cyclohexane to either cyclohexanol or cyclohexanone, and the subsequent conversion of cyclohexanol to cyclohexanone. Caprolactam is produced when cyclohexanone reacts with ammonia and water.
Caprolactam Price Trend
The price of caprolactam increased during the first two months of the quarter that ended in December 2022 in Europe but decreased during the December. Due to regional port congestion and cargo bunching, there were supply chain disruptions. Additionally, the increasing operational costs of the product's manufacture contributed to the elevated prices of energy on the European market.
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Due to the region's impending recession and rising prices, the demand for products in the downstream industry was brittle in December 2022. Manufacturers in the area reduced the rate of Caprolactam production as a result of the decline in demand. Additionally, Benzene's upstream prices dropped, which helped the Eurozone's downstream derivative businesses.
In North America, the price of caprolactam recently increased during October-November before declining. Due to limited supply and continued demand from downstream industries, caprolactam costs will probably trend even while feedstock prices are declining. According to market participants, demand governed the majority of purchases.
Due to the plentiful availability of Caprolactam in the local market throughout December 2022, the price decreased. Additionally, the holiday season decreased demand and consumer orders even more.
The cost of caprolactam has recently decreased in Asia. The market product was in high and low supply due to the downstream business interests, which resulted in falling commodity prices. Additionally, the price of the upstream chemicals benzene and cyclohexanone in Asia decreased, which helped to support the prices of the downstream industries.
The downstream Nylon market continued to be pessimistic, and the sector declined. Additionally, there was a lot of product inventory on the domestic market, and several Chinese companies have constantly cut down the caprolactam production cost.
At the same time, the regular supply from traders and the availability of surplus in India reduced the cost of the product. The market noticed a fall in orders from downstream businesses as the year's end drew near.
Key Players in the Caprolactam Industry
- China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec)
- BASF SE
- Advansix Inc.
- Shandong Haili Chemical Industry Co.
The expansion of the caprolactam market is being fueled by the production of Nylon 6 filament, fibre, and polymers. Moreover, the industry is expanding as a result of the rising demand for carpets and textiles.
In the textile industry, caprolactam monomer is commonly utilised to make non-woven fabrics since it is used to make the chemical fibre Nylon 6. This nylon-6 fabrics has many qualities, including its colour, light weight, robust construction, and durability, as well as its ease of dyeing and availability of vibrant and deep colours, are boosting consumer interest in it and driving up the industry demand.
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Additionally, one of the major downstream industries driving up demand for the material is the carpet business since nylon 6 gives carpet makers a variety of colour and pattern options. Moreover, these carpets are resistant to abrasion, wear, and tear, crushing, and matting, which extends their lifespan and supports the market's expansion.
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