CHICAGO (July 28, 4 p.m. EDT) — Transportation is a hot market for plastics processors, and will rank among the top two in the next several years, according to the results of a DuPont survey at NPE 2000.
Some 22 percent of survey respondents, including processors and suppliers, reported transportation as having the strongest growth potential in the next two to three years, while 10 percent more ranked it No. 2.
"Our greatest opportunities still lie in the high-volume automotive, appliance and electrical/electronic markets, where our materials and technical capabilities offer a tremendous opportunity to deliver value in terms of boosting performance, reducing weight and overall cost through integration and simplified production," said Walter Fields, vice president of sales and marketing at DuPont Engineering Polymers.
Plastics use in vehicles reached a high of 79 billion pounds in 1999, a 6.4 percent increase over the previous year, Fields said.
Other promising markets cited in the poll included consumer products, building and construction, electrical/electronics and medical.
Although packaging didn´t top the list, many show visitors mentioned PET packaging, specifically for beer, as a promising new market.
"Our traditional business is automotive, but the second market we are focusing on is PET (packaging). We see a lot of opportunities," said Mark Moss, vice president of research and development at Dynisco Hot Runners in Gloucester, Mass.
He said juice and beer applications are creating new opportunities, such as in coinjection technology for PET preforms.
"We are also very active in new technology development. New technology (also) is going to open up opportunities for us in the electronic and medical and packaging business," he said.
The way Kevin W. Bullman, an electrical engineer with auxiliary equipment supplier Conair Group of Pittsburgh, sees it, there are more and more people. Hence, more and more consumers. He said consumer products such as plastic beer bottles and digital versatile discs are big consumer areas to watch.
Dennis Owens, marketing director for Hallink Moulds Ltd. of Cambridge, Ontario, said his company builds molds primarily for PET bottles. He said water bottles are a hot market and beer bottles offer potential.
"Everybody has their fingers crossed that it will open up a new industry," Owens said.
Packaging is a growth area for injection mold maker Strommen Engineering of Maple Grove, Minn. According to President Bill Strommen: "A lot of what I see coming in the industry revolves around packaging-related items. And in that area, packaging containers seem to be growing more than other types of products."
Appliance and industrial electronic equipment are the hot areas for Industrial Dialectrics Inc., according to sales engineer Ed Hoskins. The company, based in Noblesville, Ind., makes sheet molding and bulk molding compounds. Dialectrics has seven plants in the United States, Europe, China and Mexico.
"The electrical market has been hot and continues to be hot," Hoskins said.
For example, some stove handles are converting to SMC, as are faceplates of icemakers and handles on refrigerators.
"Medical is definitely the market on the upswing. I´m not so sure automotive can go much further than it has already in plastics, but we´re seeing a lot of new products coming up in the medical field," said Harmon Towne, vice president of national accounts for CTB Inc., a maker of silos and conveying equipment in Milford, Ind.