Daikin, one of two suppliers of the fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) used in plenum-rated cable, has been forced to shut down one of its two FEP-manufacturing facilities because of the natural disaster in Japan earlier this month. It has put current and future orders of FEP from its Japanese manufacturing operations on hold. Daikin has two facilities in Japan; one is in Kashima, outside of Tokyo and the other is in Yodogawa, outside of Osaka. The Kashima plant did not sustain structural damage during the earthquake and tsunami, but the plant had to be shut down because it lacks power, water and gas supply.
Daikin also has an FEP-manufacturing plant in Decatur, Alabama.
On March 16 vice president of sales and marketing Rich Straff issued a letter to customers about its Japan facilities in which he stated, "The current situation is severe."
The Yodogawa plant had no physical impact during the disaster, but raw materials supplied from the Kashima plant have affected its production as well. In that March 16 letter, Straff explained that the Kashima plant's inoperable state "in conjunction with nationwide logistical complications, will lead to the reduction or stoppage of the overall output of our Yodogawa plant." FEP is one of six Daikin products affected. The others are PTFE, PFA, ETFE, Unidyne and DAIEL-FKM.
On March 24 the general manager of Daikin's chemical division, Hiroo Sakai, issued a follow-up letter to customers. In it he said electricity had been restored to the Kashima plant, but it had only 70 percent of the steam it needed for operation. "We are also conducting inspections to determine if any structural or other damage was incurred at the plant or at any of the associated buildings or warehouses," the letter said. "Based on the progress made so far, we are currently estimating to resume the operation on April 1 but in a phased manner."
Hiroo Sakai asked customers for patience, explaining that Daikin will need more time before it can respond to requests concerning material availability and shipments. Information he did provide in the letter follows.
- All orders already received are on hold
- Daikin has to temporarily put all future orders on hold until the company fully understands its global inventory situation
- The company will make decisions concerning if and when to ship orders based on inventory and the future production of the affected products.
The letter said that Daikin customers' local sales representatives will continue to provide information updates.