As an editor for three different magazines related to the plastics processing industry, I receive a lot of press releases from companies wishing to share news. On an average day, I would guess 40-60 emails hit my inbox, announcing everything from new websites to facility expansions. The most common, however, and the ones that give me a strong sense of where the industry is headed, are equipment installations and hiring announcements.
Over the last year, all-electric injection molding machines have dominated the installation announcements, but I’ve also seen several companies branching out into 3D printing. At this point, those companies are planning to use the equipment for prototyping purposes, but some are beginning to focus on small-scale production opportunities, too. Some processors are bringing additional tool building capabilities in-house, but that has been rare (or not reported via press releases). More common has been expansion into secondary services, such as ultrasonic or laser welding, digital inkjet decorating and laser marking.
Also common has been an uptick in hiring of sales staff. I have not seen a corresponding increase in the number of customer service/account management positions, so my guess is that processing companies actively are seeking to expand capacity, but haven’t yet seen a return that has pushed account management beyond its current capabilities.
Now, this isn’t a scientific assessment of the industry by any means, but I find it interesting nonetheless.
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