At the SPE Thermoforming Conference, held in Grand Rapids, MI, last week (Sept. 22-25), the mood of attendees and exhibitors was one of cautious optimism. “We’re afraid to get too excited,” said one person from a sheet supplier who did not want to be named. “So far this year we’ve been excited three times and disappointed four.”
That sentiment reflects the optimism that rang in 2012 and the slow path to more pessimistic feelings as the year has worn on toward the elections. However, as many noted, thermoforming didn’t suffer the drastic drop in business that hit the injection molding segment several years ago. That is likely due to the fact that many thin-gauge formers are in packaging, which is produced near the fillers and/or brand owners. Heavy-gauge formers typically make very large parts that would be too expensive to ship from Asia....