What a difference a year makes.
For plastics machinery manufacturers, 2010 was a year of recovery, following the brutal recession that stretched from late 2008 through all of 2009.
Customers finally started to loosen their grip on their collective wallets. It all culminated with a solid K show in Germany where some machinery executives fretted about long lead times and possible shortages of key components if the hot growth continues. Imagine that!
There weren't many machinery deals and acquisitions this year. Two U.S. producers made news, for opposite reasons, as Milacron LLC finally turned a profit and HPM shut down.
After struggling to survive the recession, Gloucester Engineering Co. got new life thanks to a new private equity owner.
October was marked, sadly, by two deaths, of Hans-Jurgen Matthesius and Elmar Spohr.
Nov. and Dec. 2009
Several European injection press manufacturers including Engel Holding GmbH, Netstal AG and Arburg GmbH + Co. KG returned their workers to full-time status, ending short-time working schedules, as the global machinery market began to improve.
HPM, the struggling maker of injection presses, sheet lines and die-casting equipment, closed its doors in Mount Gilead, Ohio.
Japan Steel Works Ltd. bought a majority stake in another Japanese injection press company, Meiki Co. Ltd.
Gloucester Engineering Co. was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy by three disgruntled creditors of the film equipment maker. The case was converted to a Chapter 11 reorganization in June, and under a new owner, private equity firm Blue Wolf Capital Partners LLC, company officials expect Gloucester to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of 2010 or early in 2011.
Engel Machinery Inc.'s president and CEO, Stephan Braig, left the injection press company to take the top job at Trexel Inc., which sells the MuCell process of microcellular foaming.
A Plastics News cover story reported strengthening demand for screws and barrels, signaling new investment at plastics factories.
Small-press supplier Boy Machines Inc. welcomed a new vice president of sales and service, Marko Koorneef. Boy Machine's president, Robert Koch, a machinery veteran, was reassigned to handle special projects and Midwest sales.
Officials of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. said Husky would introduce its first-ever all-electric injection molding machines at K 2010. Toyo Machinery and Metal Co. Ltd. supplies major components and subassemblies for the presses.
Michael Urquhart became Husky's vice president of sales for North America, replacing Carmen Lowe, who is retiring.
The plastics industry gathered in Dusseldorf, Germany, for an upbeat K 2010. The show was marked by reports of a broad global recovery by plastics machinery companies.
Davis-Standard LLC bought Harrel Inc., a maker of small tubing extruders for the medical and appliance markets.
Italian blow molding machinery maker Techne SpA filed for protection from creditors.
Two well-known plastics machinery executives died in October. Extrusion equipment veteran Hans-Jurgen Matthesius, 63, died in Florence, Ky., of cancer. Forty-year-old Elmar Spohr, president of Agawam, Mass.-based blow molding machine supplier W. Muller USA Inc., died unexpectedly in Germany on the first day of K 2010 in Dusseldorf.
Frank Nissel, the extrusion expert whose plastics career began in 1946, is retiring from sheet extrusion-line maker Welex Inc.
Rick Shaffer left Netstal Machinery Inc., where he was president and general manager. Netstal promoted Mike Sansoucy, the national sales manager, to the president's position.