North American shipments of plastics machinery continued to grow in the third quarter of 2018, according to figures released Dec. 6 by the Plastics Industry Association's Committee on Equipment Statistics.
Total shipments of injection molding machines and extrusion equipment for the quarter were $349.4 million, up 4.1 percent over the second quarter's revised total of $335.5 million, according to the association. Shipments increased 5.6 percent year over year. Blow molding machinery was not included in the report.
"Plastics machinery shipments recovered in the third quarter following a weak second quarter," Perc Pineda, chief economist for the association, said in a statement.
"We expect higher shipments in the fourth quarter," he added. "We have a tight labor market and U.S. manufacturers, including plastics machinery manufacturers, have been working on production backlogs. As a result, shipments are pushed into the next quarters."
Other third-quarter highlights from the association's report include:
• Injection molding shipments were up 2.1 percent compared with the second quarter and increased 4.6 percent over last year's third quarter.
• Single-screw and twin-screw extruder shipments posted double-digit growth of 23.8 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively, compared with the second quarter. Shipments of single-screw extruders increased 7.7 percent over last year's third quarter, while twin-screw extruders rose 17.2 percent.
"Except for soft auto and home sales numbers in the third quarter, the U.S. economy is still in expansionary mode — and that's good news for plastics machinery manufacturing," Pineda said. "While there are projections of moderate growth next year, it is expected that the U.S. economy will remain healthy."