Growth to continue in US machinery sector
By Bill Bregar, Plastics News
Posted 13 August 2012
The US plastics machinery sector is set to continue its growth path this year, according to new data from the Society of the Plastics Industry’s (SPI) committee on equipment statistics.
For injection moulding machines, the largest element within the US machinery sector, SPI’s year-end report said 2011 ended with 2,849 injection orders, an increase of 13% over the order level of 2011.
Economist Bill Wood, who provides an analysis for the SPI statistics, predicts a 10% increase for 2012, which equates to around 3,100 new orders.
Wood also thinks injection press shipments will gain 10% in 2012, finishing this year at more than 2,900 units and approaching the 3,000-press barrier.
The low point came in the recession-hit 2009, when shipments sank to just 1,285.
In extrusion moulding, SPI now is releasing numbers on more categories of equipment than before. Instead of one single number for all extruders, the equipment statistics committee now reports on single-screw extruders, and twin-screw extruders, both co-rotating and counter-rotating.
This year, Wood is predicting a modest increase in twin-screw extruders of 3-5% and a flat-to-modest increase for single-screw extruders.
SPI’s 2011 numbers show an increase in unit orders of just 1% from 2010. The annual dollar value was down by 10%.
In the twin-screw segment, SPI reports 150 new extruders were ordered in 2011, an 11% decline from 2010. The dollar value was 12% higher, although that number weakened toward the end of 2011, according to the report.
Most manufacturers of extruders are expecting business to hold steady or improve, fuelled by expansions, new technology and an emphasis on energy efficiency.
Turning to blow moulding equipment, SPI said 2011 new orders reached 85 units, a 16% increase from 2010. The dollar value for new orders jumped 19%.
Wood said he thought blow moulding machines will experience moderate growth this year to about 90-100 machines.
SPI reported that the total number of auxiliary equipment units booked was 13 percent higher in 2011 from the year before. Exports declined modestly, while a significant change in the number of companies reporting the data means that SPI officials are not comparing the numbers to 2010.
A similar issue comes in the components sector, which examines screws and barrels. Changes in the number of reporting companies makes it impossible to do year-over-year analysis on data for screws or barrels. For the full year, a total of 7,970 components were shipped by reporting companies in 2011, as business conditions gradually improved.
In the new category of thermoforming machinery, SPI reported that new orders in 2011 declined by 28 percent in terms of units and 25 percent in dollar value, from 2010 levels.
But the shipment picture was brighter: shipments increased to 164 units, up seven units from 2010, and the shipment dollar amount increased by 4%, according to SPI.
“The long-term incentives for equipment investment remain intact,” Wood said.
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