Last year, conveyor manufacturers across North America sold more equipment than they ever have in their history.
Sales figures collected by the Naples, Florida-based Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA) show that shipments were up 28 percent in 2011.
The total value of the shipments was just over US$8.5 billion. In 2010 shipments were valued at US$6.42 billion.
“There was growth across the board. It was a remarkable year,” said CEMA executive vice-president, Bob Reinfried.
“With the dollar being as weak as it is, I think some more exports are being shipped out, which has helped.”
CEMA collects order and shipment information from its members. This year almost ninety manufacturers submitted sales data CEMA used to make its North American market analysis.
Another key set of figures was the number of new orders. Because it often takes time to ship out equipment, order numbers are often in excess of shipment values. CEMA estimates new orders were US$9.3 billion last year—US$2.28 billion more than in 2010.
“For two years in a row now, orders have outpaced shipments. That’s why we know, unless there’s a severe downturn, those numbers are going back up for us,” said Reinfried.
“We’re forecasting a 10 percent increase overall this year. It’s going to be a much slower increase, but I think there was such a pent-up demand in 2011 after a few down years. Most of our members are still going to be quite pleased with a 10 percent increase over 2011 because a lot of them were at record levels last year.”
He said that looking forward into the future, the projections are good.
“We’re very positive. We’re expecting a solid 2012. We just heard from an economist at our meeting and he’s telling us things are going to continue well until late 2013 when we may see a little dip then, but nothing too severe. I think our members are very upbeat and are looking for a couple of good years.”
He said January’s figures (the most recent he has) “started off pretty strong.”