By Brian Ray, President
Quality is the overall number-one concern of engineers, industrial designers and manufacturing professionals from a cross-section of industries, including the medical device, transportation and contract manufacturing sectors, surveyed in a plastics manufacturing poll.
The sixth annual survey conducted on behalf of Ray Products Inc., a heavy-gauge thermoformer based in Ontario, CA, found that, on average, 56% of respondents’ manufacturing activity happens in the United States, although 14% of companies that do not currently offshore plastics manufacturing are considering doing so in the years ahead. The preference for domestic manufacturing is especially pronounced among medical device OEMs (70% of their manufacturing is done domestically) and the transportation/mass transit sector (63%). Also, companies that reported fewer than five plastics manufacturing projects in the year sent 49% of their work overseas compared with 33% among companies with more than five projects.
Although an overwhelming number of respondents placed quality at the top of their priorities when choosing a plastics manufacturer, total project cost ranked first when asked about their biggest processing challenge for parts they are receiving today. Repeatability and assembly concerns followed.
For the first time since Ray Products started conducting this survey, respondents anticipate an overall decrease in the number of plastics manufacturing projects they expect to take on this year. Twenty-three percent said they expect to undertake fewer projects than last year compared with 18% who expect to take on more. Fifty-nine percent said they expect to do the same as last year. Industry analysts predict 4% growth for the global plastics industry through 2025, said Ray Products, so time will tell if this survey result is an anomaly or longer-term trend.
The complete survey results are available as a free download (registration required) at the Ray Products website.
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