Most of the companies supplying rubber goods such as seals and other products for the oil and gas market are extremely busy. They are running typically at full to excess capacity, but they do not have the ability to do more to meet growing demand.
Mendes said that is because there has been a tightening up of fluoroelastomers supply, and a shortage in the market for HNBR.
"Because of that, there is somewhat of an inability to respond to the upside of the market," he said. "Many can't really overproduce right now. They don't have the facilities or people and the product in place to really meet demand."
But it's not the only bottleneck in the marketplace, and rubber goods makers seem to believe they have enough supply, staffing and capacity to make a good living at it, Mendes said, if not quite meet higher demand.
He added there was a good crowd of 160 at the Energy Polymer Group's meeting in March, and that's a good indicator of a strong market.
"People are wanting to understand the new technology that is coming out, where the market's going and what some of supply chain issues are," Mendes said.
Supply chain problems are easing and lead times are improving, though not moving down at the present time. But with lead times that are longer than the traditional past but shorter than recently, the market is adjusting to this new normal, he said.
"It's not just on the polymer front. There are enough bottlenecks for steel and other things that, if you're not the pacing item, (your goods) will probably deliver when everything else is coming in," he said. "If you are the bottleneck, then it's a problem. But when everything is just slower than it used to be, then it's not that critical."