Based in Bristol, CT in the US, Wire & Plastic Machinery Corp. is a one-stop destination to buy (and sell) wire and cable equipment, with 30,000 machines in-stock from individual machines to complete lines.
We interviewed Erik Macs, Director of Sales, that shared with us his point of view on his market segment and the past & presence of the company.
Wire & Plastic Machinery Corp. supplies premium second-hand wire, cable, and optical fiber equipment. Which are your top sellers - or which one is the largest market segment for you?
One specific segment of machinery that is always active is wire handling machines such as payoffs and takeups. As these are used in a multitude of operations (drawing extrusion, cabling, respooling), and coupled with a highly varied use of different reel specifications, there is always a call for these machines. It is very difficult to pin down “best sellers” in a specific segment of the wire and cable market. With the varied amount of equipment that we have on hand, each day brings new and different inquiries. We offer commodity items that can cost only several hundred dollars as well as multi million dollar complete lines. In general, we have seen a steadier stream of customers and prospects this year, who are having good years and are looking to expand. Telecommunications and Power are segments which can be almost guaranteed to continue to strongly grow.
Which geographic areas are you currently focusing on, and which ones are the most promising for the future?
Our 5 warehouse locations (3,000,000 square feet) are all in the United States so it would be easy to say that most of our constant contact is within North and South America. We do deal with companies from around the world both in selling and buying modes. With our extensive listings though our website, people from around the globe can easily find suitable equipment for their plants. It may sound droll, but any place that has money to spend is where we want to be.
How has the company evolved in time, both in terms of structure and market presence?Wire and Plastic Machinery now has over 40 employees throughout its 5 locations. As such we have grown into the biggest supplier of used machinery in the world. For us, the biggest challenge is to constantly update and keep track of our inventory system. The internet has played a very large part of our inventory and marketing strategy over the years. While physical inspection of machinery is still the best way to sell machines, we have also taken to drone and 360 video to further spread the highlights of our available machines. We have also expanded to utilize our resources to allow refurbishment of certain machines directly at each of our locations.
A practical question: how do you select the machines to acquire?
It is safe to say that Rick Narang, the founder and owner of Wire and Plastic Machinery, has tempered his thirst for certain pieces of machinery as warehouses fill up. Experience plays the biggest part of deciding which machines to acquire. As mentioned before, payoff and takeup machinery typically will bear close scrutiny. We do have some items in inventory that are resigned to sit there until the scrap recyclers prove a more viable option. Multi pair cabling machines (telephone cable) are a very good example of machines that were built for specific products and, now that those products have been replaced by higher grade options (Optical Fiber and Category Cable), it is almost impossible to consider how to “repurpose” those machines. Sometimes, it is also more efficient to purchase a factory outright. But that also means that we do get to own machines that we necessarily really do not want to have and are difficult or even impossible to market.
In the event that a requested machine is not in your inventory, can you develop customized solutions?
We maintain relationships with many OEM new machinery vendors around the world, so that we can purchase fill in new products to fill out a line that they are supplying or to provide them with a less expensive piece that may be more economically suitable than a new piece. With our well experienced sales and engineering team, we are able to offer our own customized solutions. On occasion, it is possible to even recondition certain machines to perform better than the original.
You're going to exhibit at wire Southeast Asia again this year. How is your presence on the Asian market?
We utilize different agents within the Southeast Asia market and the general market remains strong. Given our corporate and warehouse presence in the USA and the basic need to have people physically inspect machines before purchase, projects will tend to be more time consuming coming from Southeast Asia and in other areas of the world. However, we have also nurtured relationships such that also we are able to recommend and supply machines “sight unseen” to certain customers.
Another trade show appearance will be in Orlando, Florida, for IWCS 2017, the 66th Annual International Cable & Connectivity Symposium. Which expectations do you have for the event?
This conference has historically been the show to go to for all Optical Fiber processors and it has spread across the Telecommunications sphere to some extent. The previous shows that have been held in Orlando were held in the midst of troubling economic times throughout the industry and it is thus difficult to say that the location is a problem. Plus the greater majority of attendees seem more attuned to materials rather than machinery. As such, it is still a source of worthwhile industry shakers that need to be kept constantly aware of our changing wares. For machinery, we actually place our greatest emphasis on the two major shows – Dusseldorf and Atlanta.
You have your finger on the pulse of the wire, cable, and optical fiber markets. What is your view of the current trends?
Wire is everywhere, including wireless. But historically, the industry is one big roller coaster as technology and cable designs change and processing manners also change. Obviously the boom in cellular, cable tv and internet traffic will continue, but how coaxial cable, category cable and optical fiber split up the pie is a very difficult to gauge. Power grids are also changing as wind and solar power continue accelerated growth. Superconductor cables will also start to impact the power supply markets. One more notable trend is the constant need for longer and longer continuous lengths of certain cables. Obviously, this leads to the need for larger and larger pieces of machinery.
The US government is moving towards a protectionist policy. Would this decision have an impact on your business?
Almost certainly, it would have an impact. As we are already a global dealing company, the bigger question is whether pushback on such US policies would restrict our movement of machinery to other parts of the world. In theory, the wire and cable market demand for machinery in the US may increase due to such moves, but in all likelihood would be offset by the overall global demand.
Meet WPMC at wire Southeast Asia (Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 19-21) booth no. C10
and IWCS 2017 (Orlando, FL, USA - Oct. 9-10) booth no. 319