Welex seeing strong call for equipment

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 27, 2013 3:25 pm ET
Updated: February 27, 2013 3:33 pm ET

Welex thermoforming

Image By: Welex Inc. photo Because of growing demand for barrier-layer sheet, coextrusion is an area of strength for Welex Inc. Here, eight extruders feed a flat die.

Related to this story

Topics Thermoforming, Food packaging

BLUE BELL, PA. -- Over the last 18 months, Welex Inc. has shipped 85 pieces of machinery — extruders, takeoff units, winders and other equipment, according to President and CEO David Schroeder.

The demand reflects strong business coming out of the recession. But Schroeder said that, even during the downturn, when many industrial machinery sectors got hit by 50 percent declines, Welex held its own and avoided taking the beating.

"This company has pretty consistently maybe fluctuated by 10-15 percent, but it was by no means devastated by what took place," Schroeder said in a recent telephone interview.

Welex's business is split about 50-50 between North America and the rest of the world, he said. That includes South Korea, Brazil and China, where the company has sold some large multilayer lines. In December, Welex closed the sale of a PET coextrusion line in Saudi Arabia that will pump out 9,900 tons of sheet a year.

Multilayer coextrusion sheet lines have been popular in all geographic regions. Welex has sold more than 55 complete sheet lines in the past five years, and more than half of those have been multilayer. And Schroeder said more than 80 percent of sales come from complete lines — which take pellets all the way to finished sheet — an indication that Welex is strong in turnkey systems.

Coextrusion can create sheet with a barrier layer, to make thermoformed single-serve packaging for oxygen-sensitive foods such as applesauce.

Welex employs about 50 people at its headquarters in Blue Bell and manufacturing operation in Greenville, N.C. The company does not release dollar sales figures.

Schroeder, who has a packaging background, joined Welex in mid-2011. He came to Welex from Constar International LLC, where he was senior vice president of sales and marketing. He worked for a dozen years at Tetra Laval Group, including a stint at at blow molding equipment maker Sidel Inc. as vice president of sales and marketing, and as vice president for North America.

He said Welex has worked to partner more closely with customers, including sheet extruders and thermoformers. The company hired Jim Stangé as service sales manager. His job is to visit customers and see how the Welex equipment is running, and help with any upgrades, modifications or new controllers.

"We've proactively gone out to our customers," said Hayes Stripling, vice president of sales for the Americas.

Schroeder said Welex now refurbishes older sheet lines in the Greenville factory.

Schroeder also has done what he termed some "housecleaning," at Welex. In December, GoIndustry DoveBid conducted an online auction of excess inventory in the Greenville factory, including screws, gearboxes, transmissions, motors, pumps and sheet dies.

"The objective really was to clean up the shop and to get rid of inventory that was not relevant," he said. Some components were more than 15 years old.

Looking ahead, Schroeder is optimistic about plastics machinery sales this year. The accelerated depreciation for capital purchases got buyers off the fence in 2012, but sales slowed down a bit during the hotly contested presidential election.

Sheet extruders are ramping back up now in early 2013.

Big packaging consolidations remain a wildcard. Last year, the blockbuster was Dart Container Corp. buying Solo Cup Co. It takes awhile to determine if merged companies will move existing machines around, keep plants open or invest in new equipment, Schroeder said.


Comments

Welex seeing strong call for equipment

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 27, 2013 3:25 pm ET
Updated: February 27, 2013 3:33 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

DuPont resins help take Nike golf balls 'Fore!'ward

July 25, 2014 1:07 pm ET

It may be difficult to imagine just how much science, not to mention rubber and plastic components, go into a golf ball. But global giant DuPont Co....    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Lego pieces wash ashore 17 years after accident

July 24, 2014 9:16 am ET

Michigan replacing steel with carbon fiber to reinforce concrete on a bridge and we talk economics with Bill Wood.    More

Image

Molder provides quality parts and quality work for disabled adults

July 23, 2014 2:40 pm ET

Coarc Manufacturing Inc. does injection molding, assembly and all of the work of traditional manufacturer, but it also serves as part of Coarc Inc. a ...    More

Image

Plastics help designers bring home the gold

July 22, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Products with polymer content received multiple gold recognitions in the 2014 International Design Excellence Awards.    More

Image

Material Insights: PE makers declare force majeure

July 21, 2014 1:53 pm ET

Plus, changes in PET bottle resin price, PolyOne closing facilities and CCP Composites gets bought.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events