CLEVELAND — A prolonged strike at General Motors Corp. would ripple through the plastics industry, hurting suppliers of molds, screws and even resin and machinery suppliers.
Branson Ultrasonics Corp. of Danbury, Conn., a manufacturer of ultrasonic, linear and orbital plastics joining equipment, already is feeling the pinch from the strike, said Bruce Stott, applications engineer.
Stott said Branson currently has four vibration welders priced at $600,000 that GM ordered months ago, sitting in its plant in Danbury because delivery trucks are not able to cross strike lines.
``The strike is killing us,'' Stott said. ``We're getting hurt because we can't even deliver the machines that were ordered to the company.''
He said Branson can only hope the strike will come to a close so that there isn't a chain reaction.
``We hope that this comes to an end quickly before even more companies are affected,'' he said. ``For now I guess we are just going to have to bite the bullet.''
At Cleveland Plastics Fair, held June 23-25 in Cleveland, most exhibitors said they have felt little impact from the three-week-long strike, so far.
Screw-maker Glycon Corp. of Tecumseh, Mich., right in the heart of the auto belt, has had some orders delayed, according to President Jeffrey Kuhman. Glycon sells screws to GM's own plastics operations and its outside molders. He said GM suppliers saw a quick impact from the walkout.
``What they're saying is they've had to shut their presses down. So they contacted us and told us to delay the products [screws] that they've ordered,'' he said.
Glycon is busy with other orders not related to GM, he said. Still, the firm keeps a close eye on the auto industry. ``Because of our location, probably about 50 percent of our business is related to automotive,'' he said.
Cleveland Plastics Fair exhibitors that make injection molding machines said the strike has not hurt them. Short-term labor disruptions do not affect orders for injection presses, a major capital investment that General Motors, and the molders that supply GM, make well in advance of production needs, they said.
``We haven't seen any impact, and we're still working on some good GM business,'' said Kenneth Vaughan, marketing manager of Van Dorn Demag Corp. in Strongsville, Ohio. Of GM plastics suppliers, he said: ``They're not buying capacity for next month, they're buying capacity they need in a year or two.''
Injection press supplier Engel North America was just designated a GM Supplier of the Year, for the second year in a row. Engel Vice President Kurt Fenske said at the Cleveland show that GM has not slowed its machinery orders so far during the strike.
``I think it's quite obvious that it's going to have some impact on some of our suppliers. But I don't see an impact on us at all,'' Fenske said.
Plastics News intern Rachel Wenger contributed to this story.