Plastics are booming. But not only is plastics demand on the rise, but quality requirements specified for materials and processing are also becoming stricter as well.

Good Mood, Rising Demand

The mood amongst European manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machines is excellent. Production has increased to an estimated €15.3 billion since 2009, which corresponds to 99% growth over the last eight years.

In 2017, production output of the industry sector organised under the Euromap umbrella association experienced above-average growth amounting to 7%. Due to the persistently good order situation, Euromap is expecting turnover growth amounting to 2% this year.

It’s no wonder that plastics processing companies are doing well, because plastics are not only being used in automotive and packaging technology more and more frequently, efficiently and diversely.

There are also new exciting application options in the construction sector. For example, BASF recently increased production capacity by 40,000 tons per year for Neopor, which is used as an insulating material. The grey successor to conventional Styrofoam is lighter and more efficient than its white predecessor.

New Materials, High-Tech Processing

Simultaneously rising demand for better and better performance, as well as top quality, necessitates an unrelenting innovative spirit and new developments. Whether injection moulding, extrusion, thermoforming, foaming or 3D printing is involved – raw materials producers, machine builders and manufacturers of precision parts are innovating throughout the entire value chain at the exclusive industry meet.

The propensity to invest in new machines and systems remains high, which is affecting lead-times for materials and machine. At the same time, steady growth is being impeded by the lack of qualified personnel.

“This fact may well provide additional impetus for the automation solutions exhibited at Fakuma”, surmises Fakuma project manager Annemarie Schur. The Fakuma international trade fair for plastics processing annually presents modern solutions for high-quality plastics processing. This year the exhibition was held in Friedrichshafen from the 16 to 20 October.

Plastics In Demand Worldwide

Plastics are not just a German or European business factor, which is demonstrated by the expert visitors who have travelled from distant countries to attend industry events in recent years. At Fakuma 2018, 48,375 visitors and 1900 exhibitors attended the event this year.

The Asians are profiting from the international growth of the plastics industry sector as well. In particular Chinese competitors have become stronger, according to Euromap. In 2017 they produced machines and systems valued at €11.1 billion – 180% more than in 2009.

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