Plastics Machinery Group LLC of Solon, Ohio, is experiencing strong demand for equipment and has added jobs.
In early February, the company acquired nine used thin-gauge thermoforming machines from model years 1990 and later. “We sold seven of the nine within a week” to processors in at least five states, said Donald Kruschke, president and CEO.
“We have seen a resurgence of [U.S.] manufacturing coming back from China,” particularly for food-packaging and medical applications, Kruschke said. “Labor costs in China are going up exponentially. Shipping costs are up. Quality is slipping. And there is a nine-month lead time” on certain manufacturing orders.
The firm hired two salespeople in 2011 and another who will start June 22, he said at NPE2012 in Orlando. “We are looking for two more, one for extrusion and one for thermoforming.”
Plastics Machinery Group represents Maac Machinery Corp. globally to sell new thermoforming machines; buys and sells certain used plastics processing equipment; and, under its private label, contracts with manufacturers for rebuilding work on thermoforming, extrusion and blow molding machines.
The company began representing Maac in 2004.
Kruschke gave a breakdown on the company's approximate volumes in each of the three business lines. For thermoforming machines, the used market accounts for 50 percent, rebuilds for 30 percent and new Maac units for 20 percent.
“The industry is realizing newer machines are faster and more efficient than in the past,” he said about the market for heavy-gauge thermoforming machines.
For extruders, the used market is 80 percent and rebuilds are 20 percent.
For blow molding machines, the used market is 75 percent and rebuilds are 25 percent.
Kruschke said the business began contracting externally to rebuild extruders 10 years ago, thermoformers four years ago and blow molders last year.
Still on the horizon is an arrangement to rebuild rotational molding machines.