LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Carbide Industries LLC, the largest domestic producer of calcium carbide, suffered a plant fire resulting in the death of two employees and halting production for what is expected to be an extended period of time. As a result, domestic supplies of calcium carbide, an essential component to acetylene, may be thin until Carbide Industries returns to production. This could impact the availability of acetylene.
Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI)
reported that it spoke with a senior Carbide Industries executive to gauge the
long-term supply of the acetylene component and learned that Carbide
Will continue supplying calcium carbide from current inventory on an allocation
basis for the next two months.
Has a second, smaller plant in Oklahoma that is ramping-up production.
Has become a calcium carbide importer with foreign shipments currently
Expects to have as many as six foreign sources of calcium carbide in inventory
Does not anticipate supply limitations after May.
Anticipates rebuilding its Louisville, Ky., facility within six to nine months.
said MPS or MAPP gas are potential alternatives, but supplies for HVACR
applications may be very limited. Propylene is the most common alternative
to acetylene, but will require technicians to purchase new tips, regulators,
and hoses in most cases. While not yet substantiated, there is talk of
significant backlogs on propylene containers. HARDI stated it is
continuing to monitor the situation.