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Later this year, Phillip Townsend Associates Inc will publish an update of its study, the North American Thermoplastic Compounding: USA, Canada and Mexico (5th Edition), to assess the changes in this segment.
The aim of this new study is to see how the compounding industry has changed since the last study was published in 1997. The 1997 study profiled over 380 compounding facilities in North America. Kevin Smith, also the author of PTAI’s Major Thermoplastic Distributors and Resellers study, says, “”Forty-percent of the facilities have been re-profiled, and about 15 percent of those have undergone a change of name, mostly due to a change of ownership.””
Smith adds, “”The purpose of this new study is to identify trends in the compounding industry that would not come to light normally. For instance, about 40 percent of the people interviewed so far said that their products could be purchased through e-commerce, but a much lower percentage said that their companies actually purchased resin through e-commerce.””
An apparent trend is that producers of color concentrates are moving towards producing “”super-concentrates.”” The production of new specialty compounds, such as wood composites, is another trend that the study is highlighting.
Other areas the study is investigating are compounding capacity and its apparent capacity utilization. In the 1997 study, PTAI reported that capacity utilization was 71 percent. Smith says, “”Our preliminary data suggests that there is still some over capacity in the industry, even with the shutdowns. We analyze the utilization rates by resin, by integrated versus independent compounders and establish what trends exist.””
The developing Asian compounding market, and particularly China, is a concern for some converters in North America. This study will identify the North American players who are already in those markets. PTAI projects that this new study will be published in June 2003.
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