Conveyor Equipment Market Is On the Move

April 1, 2010
Thanks mostly to the recession, as well as to the cyclical nature of the material handling industry, shipments of conveyor equipment were down nearly 23% in 2009, according to the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA).

At the recent CEMA annual meeting, which MHM attended, executives representing CEMA member companies were cautiously optimistic that things would soon be getting better, forecasting a very modest 2% increase in shipments for 2010.

As the voice of the material handling industry, MHM set out to investigate the use of conveyor equipment by our readership, i.e., those that authorize the purchase of the equipment. We surveyed readers to find out what types of equipment they plan to purchase this year and next year, and just as importantly, to learn what’s important to them when purchasing conveyor equipment.

Based on input from 373 readers, 85% of material handling decision makers plan to purchase as least one or more types of conveyor equipment, parts or services in 2010 (See chart, “Planned Purchases”), with service being the most prevalent choice (42%), followed by conveyor controls (21%), conveyor chain (16%), palletizers (15%) and unit handling components (15%). The most important factors when purchasing conveyors are product and service quality; price actually is only the third-most important factor, tied with compatibility with existing equipment.

Looking forward to 2011, 18% of survey respondents expect to increase their spend on conveyor equipment, parts and service over 2010 levels, while 65% plan to spend the same. For bulk handling equipment, 16% plan to increase their spend in 2011 and 72% will spend at 2010 levels. The spend for unit handling equipment will see 23% increasing their budgets in 2011, and 64% staying the course at 2010 levels.

The best news of all, perhaps, is that spending on all material handling equipment is expected to increase by 31% from 2010 to 2011, based on input from MHM’s readers. Also, 57% say they plan to spend the same amount next year that they’ll be spending this year, so there’s some reason to feel encouraged that the worst of the recession is behind us.

MHM will continue to monitor buying patterns throughout the year in various sectors.