Overseas competition, automation and technology, and "What keeps you up at night?" were among topics discussed at the recent SPE thermoforming conference. Processors, machine manufacturers and consultants weighed in with their opinions and thoughts.
When it comes to automation, particularly the use of robotics for operations such as trimming, thermoformers are "behind injection molders in the use of automation" but business is picking up as companies see the value in automation every part of the process they can. So says Chris Parrillo, national sales manager for robot and automation manufacturer Yushin America Inc. However, Perillo added that he's seeing an increase in demand for automation among thermoforming companies, and particularly as the year-end approaches and companies want to take advantage of the accelerated depreciation offered by the government.
There are a number of trends and concerns among thermoformers including automation, innovation, technology, human resources and completion. At the recent SPE Thermoforming conference, a panel of thermoforming experts discussed these various trends in the industry and also some of the concerns.