Canadian Plastics

Processors coping with tight PVC supply

Rising prices and a tight supply situation for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin across North America have not curtailed operations for Canadian processors, but some are noticing a decrease in the qualit...

March 1, 2000   Canadian Plastics



Rising prices and a tight supply situation for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin across North America have not curtailed operations for Canadian processors, but some are noticing a decrease in the quality of resin.

“We experienced more problems in the last eight months than we’ve ever had,” says Bobby MacLean, production manager for Atlantech Extrusion Inc. (North Sydney, NS). Atlantech produces profiles and gaskets for the window and door industry.

A Toronto extruder reports similar problems. “We are getting all the material that we need but recently we received material from one supplier with a quality problem we had not seen in the past. This may be a reflection of the PVC supply situation,” reports John Harbom, president of Plastmo Ltd. (Brampton, Ont.). Plastmo extrudes PVC window profiles and eavestrough.

The discontent is not universal however. At Plastival Inc., a high-volume profile extruder based in Laval, Que., president Guy David reports no problems with PVC quantity or quality. “We stay in very close touch with our supplier and I have not seen any decrease in quality.”

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The supply/demand imbalance is not expected to ease anytime soon. Although some minor expansions are planned over the next 12 to 18 months, the next major increase in capacity is due at the end of 2001, says Rob Rosenau, general manager for rigid extrusion compounds, Geon Co.

Higher prices and constrained supply will also put a damper on the robust growth rates seen in some segments of the PVC market in recent years, says Rosenau. “But we do continue to see people developing new products in vinyl, based on their long term belief that the supply situation will resolve itself.”

Plastmo’s Harbom and Plastival’s David both say they are still pursuing new business, but Harbom “is very aware that the addition of several large new customers right now could be problematic.”


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