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Plant disruptions, strong demand tax supply of Vinsol, key AE admixture component

Sources: Pinova Inc., Brunswick, Ga.; CP staff

A convergence of routine market and rare natural forces could compel concrete producers using Vinsol resin-based admixtures to convert their mix designs to ones bearing alternative products meeting ASTM C260, Standard Specification for Air-Entraining Admixtures for Concrete requirements. Between this fall and much of 2018, producers will likely confront tight supplies of Vinsol-type air-entraining admixtures as the resin's sole supplier addresses capacity and inventory challenges.

Pinova Inc. has placed Vinsol customers on allocation through at least mid-2018, citing high seasonal demand for the compound and the loss of 15-30 days’ production at its coastal Georgia operation. The latter stemmed from a mandatory evacuation of Glynn County ahead of Hurricane Irma, which swept through Florida and Georgia the weekend of September 9.

In a late-September letter to customers, Pinova declared Force Majeure, a common contract clause acknowledging potential supply disruptions in the face of a “superior force” or “act of God.” Shutdown of the Brunswick headquarters plant, where Pinova extracts a range of resins and rosins from pine tree stumps, coincided with depleted inventories driving Vinsol delivery lead times into months versus weeks.

Vice President of Global Sales Isaac Moussan notes that Pinova began upgrading the Brunswick facility earlier this year to increase processing capacity, but had not been able to build Vinsol stock by Irma’s arrival. Capacity improvements supported by French parent company DRT will continue, he adds, although customers have been informed that the plant will likely need all of 2018 to balance supply with demand and meet targeted one- to two-week delivery leads. Upon its 2016 acquisition of Pinova, DRT became the fourth owner of the Vinsol brand during the past decade.