PVB Shortage Impacts the Glass Industry

Some glass companies have been feeling the effects of the lack of polyvinyl butyral (PVB). The availability of the critical material for laminated glass has been low and can be attributed to several causes.

Eastman is a supplier of PVB in the industry. Travis Smith, vice president and general manager of Films at Eastman, says climate, the economy and recent events have impacted supply and delivery.

“The shortage of PVB has been caused by many situations, including the rapid economic recovery, the severe weather event in Texas earlier this year that took down extremely high percentages of output from the chemical industry, and the continued logistical challenges which were made even more challenging by the Suez Canal event,” he says.

“The PVB supply chains for our industry are fundamentally tied to basic chemical feedstocks, starting with propylene and ethylene. With major suppliers of key raw materials for PVB having declared force majeure and continuing to operate under force majeure through the first part of this year, operational and supply chain recovery for critical feedstocks has been slower than originally expected. Also, the global logistics system is severely stressed, resulting in lack of equipment and bookings availability. This has resulted in a deeper and more prolonged impact to critical raw materials.”

Kuraray, another supplier of PVB, announced last month that it issued a global price increase of its Trosifol PVB interlayer and SentryGlas ionoplast interlayer due to the cost increases in raw materials, packaging materials, transportation and logistics.

The shortage is causing limited supply and prices to increase for glass companies across the country.

“That will ultimately and radically impact both the supply and, of course, price,” says Bob Linford of Giroux Glass.

However, some companies have have not yet felt the impact. Bernard Lax, CEO of Pulp Studio in Gardena, Calif., says currently, his company has not experienced the shortages, but he has heard through the trade that shortages exist.

“I believe some of this is purely logistics related, as the suppliers of our suppliers are not able to get raw material because of transportation issues,” he says. “Another perspective is that poor, or lack of, planning by customers has put them in difficult times when shortages exist. Those users who are used to spot buying materials, rather then planning and projecting with their suppliers, will find it difficult to get what they need in a supercharged market.”

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