CLEVELAND — Rotational molders are growing faster than other sectors that make structural plastic parts, economist Peter Mooney said at TopCon 2014, the Society of Plastics Engineers' rotomolding conference.
The other processing methods for structural products include industrial blow molding, thick-sheet thermoforming and pipe and profile extrusion. The structural segment took a long time to recover from the recession, but has been growing at a 7 percent rate since 2009 — about the same as rotomolding.
“Rotomolders are riding the wave of demand for durable and industrial products,” said Mooney, who runs Plastics Custom Research Services in Advance, N.C.
The rotomolding sector has picked up some work from industrial blow molders, which got hit hard by the recession, he said. “So if you're a rotomolder competing in a hollow-part business, you're in a great position.”
Mooney said most rotomolders are small and family-owned, so they can seek new markets more quickly. “When you're in a recession and you're really buckling down and, as a small company you can be very flexible and you can change things,” he said.
And the rotomolding industry has diversified a great deal, beyond its original dominant markets of tanks and toys. Mooney gave this breakdown: agricultural/industrial tanks (25 percent), containers (15 percent), recreational/sporting goods (12 percent), agricultural equipment (10 percent), toys (6.5 percent), material handling products (6 percent), lawn and garden equipment (5 percent) and marine products (5 percent). The remaining 15.5 percent is an “other” category.