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A second quarter of improvement.

Custom plastics processing machine capacity utilization improved by one percentage point in the second quarter after a two-point gain in the first quarter of this year. Based on survey responses from 351 custom processors, more than twice as many plants increased their capacity utilization as decreased it in the second quarter, and 80% more plants added days or shifts to their workweek than reduced days or shifts worked. Those ratios of gainers to losers were even better than in the first quarter. Only the Southeast and South Central regions failed to improve. Still, the South Central sector remained highest, and the West weakest, in custom capacity utilization.

Processors' optimism remained very high when they were surveyed in early July. Sixty-eight percent of respondents remarked positively about business conditions--that is, either rated current conditions as fair to good or at least saw signs of improvement coming. Only 30% commented negatively on business conditions.

Also encouraging was the whopping 12% gain in new tooling orders reported by 196 mold and die shops. This was the second quarterly increase in a row after five consecutive declining quarters, and the biggest jump since the beginning of 1988.


Custom injection molding scored a four-point increase in capacity utilization. All regions of the country improved except the Southeast. The South Central region was again the strongest, and the West weakest.

Custom extrusion, although continuing to show the highest utilization rates of any process, was one of only two sectors that lost ground in the second quarter, the other being custom thermoforming, which was the slowest of all.

New tooling orders showed the strongest improvement in the West, and weakest in the Northeast. The ratio of shops experiencing longer lead times (29%) to those seeing shorter lead times (21%) was higher than in the first quarter.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Gardner Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:plastics industry
Publication:Plastics Technology
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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