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Final Cut

Whatever it Takes

PM&F Survey reveals secondary plastics processors are diversified.

By Harry Urban

How do you stack up against your peers? In July more than 200 of our readers responded to a survey about business, technical, and marketing trends. We asked a wide range of question from, “What kind of services or end products are offered by your operations?” to “Do you personally use the Internet for business purposes?”

The results, which will be detailed in future issues of PM&F, go a long way to depict the state of the secondary plastics processing industry. Most interesting to me, the survey revealed that whether they were primarily an injection molder, a thermoformer, or a plastics fabricator, the respondents also wear several other hats and, in essence, do whatever it takes to survive.

When we asked our readers to indicate all services or end products offered, more than half (52%) provide more than one service, with the largest percentage (34%) offering two. Slightly more than a third (36%) report that their operation serves as a plastics fabricator. Thirty-five percent are machine shops and an additional 29% are injection molders.

Take a further look at all the services offered by the respondents and the scope of secondary plastics processing becomes apparent. For example, of the 65 injection molders that responded to the survey, 23% do thermoforming, 32.5% do machining and 36.7% are extruders. Similarly, of the 79 plastics fabricators surveyed, 18.2% machine, 16.7% extrude, 29% fabricate and 7.7% injection mold.

The next issue will profile Abbott Plastics Co. in Rockford, IL. The 20-year-old company was founded as a plastics distributor. Today the company is still a plastics distributor but at least 50 percent of its business comes from value-added services from complex engineered plastics machine parts to simple die-cut Mylar gaskets. A bevy of machining centers and a new high tech panel saw allows them to offer parts and services for a myriad of industrial customers in Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin.

“We do a variety of things and have a broad customer base,” said Robert Nelson, co-owner. He said his company’s diversification has allowed it to grow and stay healthy in Rockford’s tough business climate.
How about you? Are you beholden to just a handful of customers? Are you capable of taking on any profitable job that might come your way?

If you’d like a complete copy of our Reader Profile please give me a call at 847-634-4347 ext. 650 or
E-mail me at
for more information.

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Plastics Machining & Fabricating
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