This week we continue our series of discussions with leaders of plastics and polymer technology companies who are making good things happen in our industry. Recently I had the pleasure to speak with Kirk Winstead, president of U.S. operations of size-reduction equipment supplier Rapid Granulator. Over the past 70 years, Rapid has delivered more than 100,000 granulators around the world, and still counting.
Winstead says that they are seeing strength around the globe. "The U.S. is extremely strong right now, but so is much of Europe. Germany in particular is off the hook." They are seeing activity from some unlikely places as well. "We just received orders from Portugal and Ireland, for example," noted Winstead.
The global dynamics of the business continue to evolve. RGI is seeing some work that was once off-shored returning to North America, although not only to the U.S. Some work is also coming back to Canada and Mexico. While RGI has been doing well in Mexico, Winstead suggested that they are looking further into South America for potential growth.
With regards to end markets, Winstead says "Packaging remains very strong for us, but there has been a rebound nearly across the board with injection molders, blowmolders, thermoformers, and recyclers. Extrusion is also a very good market for us, but has been relatively slower to recover as segments of it are tied to the homebuilding industry, think vinyl siding and PVC piping. Also, as everyone in the plastics industry knows, it is to our advantage to be on the forefront of sustainability initiatives. Taking care of our own waste through recycling and reusing is good for the entire industry. Our products and process knowledge facilitate that."
Rapid Granulator is operating at full capacity right now. They have included hiring new positions in next year's budget. I want to thank Kirk for his time, and for sharing more good news for our industry. If you would like to see good news about your company in a future blog, please contact me.
Paul Sturgeon is business manager with KLA Industries based in Cincinnati, OH, an executive search firm specializing in plastics and polymer technology. If you have a topic you'd like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for his blog, e-mail Paul at [email protected].