The year 2006 was marked by two ownership changes covering some of biggest brand names in plastics machinery.
Investment firm Madison Capital Partners bought Mannesmann Plastics Machinery GmbH, the world's largest machinery group. MPM brands are Krauss-Maffei, Demag Plastics Group, Netstal and Berstorff.
Madison, a low-key company run out of a stripped-down office in Chicago, bought MPM from high-flying New Yorkers - Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. The deal closed July 5.
In October, the Battenfeld injection press operation changed hands, as SMS GmbH sold it to German investment firm Adcuram Industriecapital AG.
The machinery sector also saw a flurry of people news, as top executives moved around, or even left the business entirely.
Tens of thousands of people came to two major trade shows this year, NPE 2006 in Chicago abd Fakuma 2006 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
U.S. processors have been hurt by work going to China, and by last year's hurricanes that spiked up resin prices and caused some shortages. But resin prices stabilized, letting processors at least develop a capital-spending plan.
In the U.S., a healthy capacity utilization rate for plastics plants and high levels of plastic parts production point to what could be a decent rebound in 2007.
On the other hand, auctions kept coming, sometimes sporting late-model machines that threatened to dampen sales of new ones. Machinery sales people, don't read this partial list while you're eating: Engineered Plastic Products Inc., Sanford North America, Cornerstone Products Inc. and Carlisle Engineered Products.
Here's a look back at major events of 2006:
Helmar Franz, a well-known German machinery executive who left Demag Plastics Group in 2005, became executive vice president of the giant Chinese injection press maker, Ningbo Haitian Group Co. Ltd. In May, Haitian named Worcester, Mass., firm Absolute Machinery Corp. to head sales and service for the U.S. and Canada.
Century Extrusion, which makes twin-screw compounding lines, was bought by CPM Holdings Inc. Century's manufacturing remains in Traverse City, Mich.
Taylor's Industrial Services LLC asked an Italian court to put Sandretto Industrie srl, its Turin-based injection molding machine maker, under protection from creditors. Taylor's owns HPM, a Mount Gilead, Ohio, maker of injection presses and sheet lines.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. faced down one of the shortest union drives in history at its hot-runner plant in Milton, Vt. The International Association of Machinists filed a petition signed by workers Jan. 18, but dropped its effort just two weeks later.
Wilhelm SchrÃ¶der departed as the top executive at SMS Plastics Technology, after just two years.
Michael Santa left injection press supplier Battenfeld of America Inc., where he was president and chief executive officer. In June, he became vice president of manufacturing at plastics processor Suncast Corp.
Milacron Inc.'s factory in Malterdingen, Germany, Ferromatik Milacron Maschinenbau GmbH, announced it would cut capacity and lay off about 90 workers.
Film machinery maker Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc. took full ownership of Battenfeld Chen Extrusion Systems Ltd., its China plant, after buying out the 40 percent stake of partner Chen Hsong Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based press maker.
Two SMS GmbH extrusion businesses - Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik GmbH and American Maplan Corp. - bought a minority stake in Mumbai, India-based Kabra Extrusiontechnik Ltd.
Chicago investment group Madison Capital Partners announced May 30 that it would buy Mannesmann Plastics Machinery GmbH - including the brands of Krauss-Maffei, Demag Plastics Group, Netstal and Berstorff. MPM sold French injection press supplier Billion SA before the deal.
NPE 2006 drew 64,451 people to McCormick Place in Chicago.
Akei Plastic-Machine Mfy. Ltd. officials said Akei will establish a U.S. sales and service operation in Seattle. The firm makes blow molding machines in China.
Madison Capital named Richard Osborne, one of its own executives, to head MPM. He replaced Pepyn Dinandt, who turned up later to run SMS Plastics Technology.
Barry Potter, who launched the U.S. arm of Swiss injection press maker Netstal-Maschinen AG, died Sept. 25, after a battle with cancer. He was 67.
Major European trade show Fakuma 2006 lured 39,618 attendees to Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Just before Fakuma, SMS announced it was selling the Battenfeld injection press business to German investment firm Adcuram Industriekapital AG.
Davis-Standard LLC became fully owned by an investor group led by management and private equity firm Hamilton Robinson LLC, after materials company Chemtura Corp. sold its 60 percent interest in the machinery maker.
Milacron Inc. picked an outsider to become its new president of global plastics machinery - Robert Simpson, who has a background running automotive plastics operations.