By Simon Robinson, editor
If 2012 was a year of make do and mend for polyurethane machinery users, as shown by the relatively high level of repair business in the year, then 2013 might be the year that we started to turn the corner into investment.
Capital goods, like polyurethane machinery, are some of the most sensitive lead indicators of economic mood.
Polyurethane machinery is particularly sensitive because it is priced relatively modestly, compared to other types of machinery, such as presses or injection moulding machines.
Polyurethane equipment is often sold by small/medium-sized companies to other SMEs. All companies guard their capital jealously because one misplaced investment can be a matter of life or death for SMEs, which typically have restricted reserves of capital. So companies which may buy polyurethane machines are typically cautious.
However, the lower cost of some types of polyurethane processing machinery and often short build times can be an advantage for the sector.
It is possible for processors to win an order and buy a machine, or part of a machine for the job. This lies at the heart of the PU industry’s responsiveness to change and opportunity.
Some areas are clearly growing strongly at present. Anything to do with building insulation products are likely to be doing very well at the moment. This is because builders are gearing, or have geared, up for changes in legislation that force them to construct buildings with greatly…