2017 has been another year of solid growth for North American compounders and concentrates makers, and many of them are viewing 2018 with that same optimism.
"It's been a good year," said Kevin Putman, director of sales, marketing and operations at Penn Color Inc. of Doylestown, Pa. "We've seen 10 percent growth and are right on top of hitting our budget. We're continuing to expand in building and construction, transportation, telecommunications and packaging."
Mike Rosenthal, executive vice president at Plastics Group of America in Woonsocket, R.I., added that 2017 "has been much busier than anticipated," with many customers increasing orders. A. Schulman Inc. of Fairlawn, Ohio, has benefited in 2017 by having "the broadest portfolio of any compounder in North America," including thermosets, masterbatch concentrates and color compounds, according to Frank Roederer, the firm's senior vice president and general manager of engineered composites.
Pete Prusak, North American marketing head for Clariant Masterbatches in Holden, Mass., went a step further, saying that 2017 has been "one of the best years in my 25-plus years in the business."
"We really focused these last two years, and the planning and marketing work we did up front is paying off now," he added. Teknor Apex Co. of Pawtucket, R.I., has seen good sales growth this year for its PVC compounds and in sales into building and construction and medical markets, according to President William Murray.
Techmer PM of Clinton, Tenn., is seeing mid-single digit growth in 2017, president Ryan Howley said, although the firm was challenged early in the year and in the fall by material costs. He cited Mexico as a strong growth region for Techmer.
RTP Co. of Winona, Minn., is experiencing "growth from everywhere," according to Jean Sirois, strategic planning and acquisitions director. "We've had a great year and have gained some sales from new regulations, which have prompted customers to change their products," he said. "And we're still seeing metal parts convert to plastic in automotive and other products."
At Ampacet Corp. in Tarrytown, N.Y., volume and sales growth are both good for 2017, value chain senior global manager Doug Brownfield said. Some raw material tightness caught the firm by surprise, he added, but both flexible and rigid packaging remained strong growth markets.
2017 "has been a great year, with great opportunities for specialty compounders," according to Scott Anderson, chief operating officer of Polymer Resources Ltd. in Farmington, Conn. "A year ago, we doubled down on our strategy of servicing highly-specified applications and it's been working for us."