Overall U.S. shipments of plastics machinery declined by 6 percent in the second quarter of 2006, compared with the second quarter a year ago, according to Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. figures released Aug. 17.
Blame it on NPE 2006 in June, said Bill Wood, an economist who provides analysis for the SPI machinery reports. He said NPE, held every three years, affects market activity, as buyers hold off until the show.
``In a large percentage of past NPE years, the primary machinery shipment totals have been lower than would otherwise be expected in the first half of the year,'' Wood said. The good news is that NPE does help: ``They are higher than usual in the quarters immediately following an NPE.''
Wood is predicting an increase of about 6 percent for U.S. machinery shipments by the end of 2006. He is president of Mountaintop Economics & Research Inc. in Greenfield, Mass.
Second-quarter shipment highlights from the SPI Committee on Equipment Statistics include:
* Injection molding machines declined 10 percent, down from the same quarter of 2005.
* Single- and twin-screw extruders jumped 31 percent from the year-ago period.
* Blow molding machines declined by seven units from the number shipped in the second quarter of 2005.
* Bookings for auxiliary equipment increased 4 percent from the same quarter a year ago.
* Second-quarter shipments of components - screws and barrels for injection molding and extruding - increased by 6 percent from the first quarter of this year. Washington-based SPI cannot compare that figure to the previous year because of a change in the number of reporting companies.