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					                                                     PLASTICS CUSTOM RESEARCH SERVICES
                                                                           695 Burton Road
                                                                         Advance, NC 27006

INDUSTRIAL THERMOFORMING: WHERE IT’S BEEN, WHERE IT’S HEADED

PCRS has researched and published studies of the North American industrial thermoforming business
in 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2004. Over the period November 2008-January 2009 we revisited this
business to determine how the unfolding domestic and global economic crisis is impacting this
business and what strategies the processors in this field are adopting to survive the difficult conditions
likely to obtain in the major markets they serve.

Our earlier research indicated that whereas the regional industrial thermoformers enjoyed vigorous
growth in the second half of the 1990s, the growth dyna mic in this business stalled from 2000 to 2003,
during which period the U.S. economy experienced a recession. Sales of industrial thermoformed
output rebounded strongly in 2004. Yet the annual pace of sales growth decelerated steadily from that
point until 2008 when total industry sales declined. The average annual growth rate in sales terms from
2003 to 2008 was 3.9%. When one figures in the increase in the processors’ cost structure –
particularly the soaring cost of resins that go into heavy-gauge sheet – the conclusion one draws is that
there has been no real growth in this sector of the plastics processing business over this 5-year period.

Several factors combined to create the difficult market conditions industrial thermoformers confronted
in recent years. The demand for plastic parts and products of all types deteriorated in many of their
major markets. U.S. sales of cars and light trucks have been trending downwards since 2000. The low
interest rate regime introduced in reaction to the 2001 recession restored economic growth, yet it
contributed to the housing bubble that began to burst in 2006. Meanwhile much of U.S. manufacturing
has relocated offshore to take advantage of low labor costs in China and other developing countries.

The industrial thermoformers also experienced loss of market share to alternative plastics processors.
The erosion of U.S. manufacturing due to foreign outsourcing was felt particularly keenly by domestic
injection molders. Faced with costly excess capacity, they began bidding for part programs marked by
lower volumes of production. This brought them into direct competition with the industrial
thermoformers. With the twin competitive advantages of available capacity and lower Chinese-origin
tooling the injection molders succeeded infringing on the industrial thermoformers’ traditional market
space. Officials we interviewed noted they confront today similar competitive challenges from other
plastics processors such as blow molders, composite processors, and rotomolders.

Several officials interviewed suggested explicitly or implicitly that their strategy for the near-term
future is geared to simply surviving the current economic downturn. Yet the more progressive
companies are seizing on this cyclical downturn to transform their operations. They are exploring new
sheet materials and investing in modern machinery with leading-edge technologies that will permit
them to compete for new product introductions. When the three regional economies recover in
response to massive planned fiscal stimuli in addition to monetary stimuli already in place, these
companies will be in a position to participate in those markets most likely to benefit.

                                          FEBRUARY 2009
TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

PART I – THE EVOLVING INDUSTRIAL THERMOFORMING BUSINESS
 Defining the Industrial Thermoforming Business
 The Number of North American Companies with Captive, Custom and Proprietary Industrial Thermoforming
  Operations
 The Recent and Likely Future Pattern of Corporate Consolidation in Industrial Thermoforming
 The Hierarchy of Regional Industrial Thermoformers
 The Economics of Industrial Thermoforming: The Distribution of Companies by Size of Operations

PART II: THE RECENT PATTERN OF GROWTH IN THE VALUE AND VOLUME OF
         INDUSTRIAL THERMOFORMED OUTPUT
 The Recent Trend in the Value of Industrial Thermoformed Output
 The Recent Trend in the Distribution of Sales Growth among the Industrial Thermoformers
 A Summary of Actual and Anticipated Sales Growth, 2007-2009
 The Recent Trend in the Volume of Industrial Thermoformed Output
 The Recent Trend of Heavy-gauge Sheet Pricing
 The Recent Trend of Investment in Industrial Thermoforming Machinery

PART III: MAJOR INDUSTRIAL THERMOFORMING MARKETS
 The Current Status of Major Industrial Thermoforming Markets
   Agricultural Equipment
   Aircraft
   Appliances
   Automotive
   Building and Construction
   Electronic and Medical Equipment
   Heavy Trucks
   Marine
   Mass Transit
   Materials Handling
   Recreational Vehicles
   Signs and Displays
  Opportunities for Industrial Thermoformers in Niche Markets
   Alternative Energy
   High-performance Sheet
   Specialty Vehicles
  Market Conditions in the Various Regions of the North American Economies
  The Growing Competition from Alternative Plastics Processors in Industrial Thermoforming Markets

PART IV; THE RECENT PATTERN OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE IN INDUSTRIAL
          THERMOFORMING
  The Status of Established Innovations
   Twin-sheet Forming
   Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) Sheet
   Paint Film
  The Status of More Recent Innovations
   Processing Material Innovations
     Sheetless Thermoforming
   Plastic Sheet Material Innovations
     Bioplastics
     Composite Sheet
     High-performance Sheet
     Nanomaterials

PART V: PERSPECTIVES FROM THE INDUSTRIAL THERMOFORMING SUPPLY BASE
  Forming Machine Suppliers
  Heavy-gauge Sheet Suppliers
  Thermoforming Consultants

PART VI: THE PCRS SURVEY OF INDUSTRIAL THERMOFORMERS

  Able Manufacturing & Assembly                McClarin Plastics
  Acrylon Plastics                            Mechanical Enterprises
  Allied Plastics                             Meyer Plastics
  Apogee Designs                              PFC Systems
  Arrowhead Plastic Engineering               PFI Vacuum Forming
  Brentwood Industries                        Paradise, Inc.
  CSL Plastics                                Paragon Plastics
  Complete Plastic Fabricators                Penda Corporation/Durakon Industries
  Conrad Manufacturing Company                Plastic Fabricating
  Duo-Form Plastics                           Plastics Design & Manufacturing
  East Iowa Plastics                          Plastik MP
  Empire West                                 PolyJohn Enterprises Corporation
  Formco Plastics                             PolyPortables
  Formed Plastics                             Profile Plastics
  Fox Lite                                    SF Technology
  Freetech Plastics                           STK LLC
  General Plastics                            Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics
  GeoTex                                      Shamrock Plastics
  Gregstrom Corporation                       Soroc Products
  Hagans Plastics Company                     Specialty Manufacturing
  Hampel Corporation                          Spray Control Systems
  Hill Plastics                               Thermoforme LR
  Homeland Vinyl Products                     Thermopro
  IPR Automation – Sohner Plastics            Trans Form Plastics
  I-Plus                                       Travel Star Plastics
  Indiana Vacform                             Usheco
  Industrial Thermoform                       Vistar Technologies
  JP Plastics                                 Welch Fluorocarbon
  Jarden Plastic Solutions                    Western Wisconsin Plastics
  KFP Corporation                             Wilbert, Inc.
  Kal Plastics



120 Pages                                 6 Tables                                   11 Figures
                                                 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Peter J. Mooney is the founder and president of Plastics Custom Research Services. Dr. Mooney holds a Ph.D. in
economics fro m the University of North Carolina, and he has covered the plastics industry as a technical/economic market
research analyst and consultant since 1981. He is a member of several plastics industry associations such as the Society of
the Plastics Industry, the Society of Plastics Engineers, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, SAMPE, and the
Association of Rotational Molders . He has researched and written over 75 mu lti-client reports, as well as over 75 single-
client reports, in the field of plastics and related industries. He has also organized, chaired, and made presentations to
numerous conferences on critical issues facing the global plastics industry.



                                ABOUT PLAS TICS CUS TOM RES EARCH S ERVICES

Plastics Custom Research Serv ices was formed in 1993 in response to the growing demand for accurate and insightful
market research tailored to the evolving needs of plastic industry participants. PCRS is able to utilize research metho ds
developed through over 25 years of experience in this field - methods that yield cost-effective and timely data and insights
of relevance to the product and service offerings of the plastics industry. These research methods include telephone -based
and in-person surveys of key decision-making officials in the field, as well as hard-copy and electronic searches of trade
literature and patents. Research findings, conclusions and recommendations are provided in written and oral reporting
formats. PCRS also researches and publishes mu lti-client Plastics Industry Reports, dealing with subjects that are part of its
core competencies and that have relevance to a wide range of plastics industry operatives.


                                                      ORDER FORM

   I would like to order a copy of “ Industrial Thermoforming : Where It’s Been,
    Where It’s Headed” at $1,950.00                                                      $_______________

   I would also like to order _____ additional copies of
    this report at $400.00 each                                                          $_______________

                  Total cost of reports ordered                                          $_______________
                  Shipping (Priority Mail-$8.00; Fedex overnight-$35.00)                 $_______________

                           TOTA L AMOUNT PA YA BLE                                       $_______________

Method of Pay ment

   Check enclosed _______________
   Please bill me; purchase order # ____________________

Signature____________________________                           Date____________
Name_______________________________                             Title______________________________
Co mpany____________________________                            Div ision___________________________
Address_____________________________
City________________________________                            State_________ Zip________________
Telephone #__________________________                           Fax #______________________________

Please Mail or Fax this Form to:
                                            Plastics Custom Research Services
                                                     695 Burton Road
                                                    Advance, NC 27006

                             Telephone #: (336) 998-8004             Fax #: (336) 998-8044
                        Email: Plasres@AOL.com                   Website: www.plasres.com
                                                             PLASTICS CUSTOM RESEARCH SERVICES
                                                                                      695 Burton Road
                                                                                   Advance, NC 27006
                                                                               Phone: (336) 998-8004
                                                                                   Fax: (336) 998-8044
                                                                            Email: PlasRes@AOL.com



                                       SPECIAL ORDER FORM FOR
                                     INDUSTRIAL THERMOFORMERS



   I would like to order a copy of “ Industrial Thermoforming : Where It’s Been,
    Where It’s Headed” at $975.00                                                         $_______________

   I would also like to order _____ additional copies of this report at $400.00 each     $_______________

                 Total cost of reports ordered                                            $_______________
                 Shipping (Priority Mail-$8.00;Fedex overnight-$35.00)                    $_______________

                          TOTA L AMOUNT PA YA BLE                                         $_______________

Method of Pay ment

   Check enclosed _______________
   Please bill me; purchase order # ____________________

Signature____________________________                 Date_______________________

Name_______________________________                            Title______________________________________
Co mpany____________________________                           Div ision___________________________________
Address_____________________________
City________________________________                           State__________ Zip______________________
Telephone #__________________________                          Fax #_____________________________________

Please Mail or Fax this Form to:

                                           Plastics Custom Research Services
                                                    695 Burton Road
                                                   Advance, NC 27006

                              Telephone #: (336) 998-8004  Fax #: (336) 998-8044
                               Email : Plasres@AOL.com Website: www.plasres.com

				
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