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European plastics machinery industry seeks a way out of crisis though …

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European plastics machinery industry seeks a way out of crisis though well positioned

In a virtual press conference held yesterday (Oct 5), EUROMAP shared the industry and market overview of European plastics and rubber processing machinery, as well as the line-up of K 2022.  


According to EUROMAP, the production value for plastics and rubber processing machinery in Europe in 2022 is expected to reach around €15 billion, a level as in 2021. Thanks to the positive trend in global consumption of plastics, which is forecast to increase 21% from 2021 to 2026, the demand for processing machines is anticipated to grow in all major sales markets.


Meanwhile, world exports of plastics and rubber processing machinery doubled from €12 billion in 2001 to €24 billion in 2021. In the past two decades, the share of Chinese exports grew over-proportionately from less than 10% to 24%, although Europe continues to lead the way with a 47% share of deliveries.


Besides, incoming orders for the German plastics and rubber machinery industry from January to August 2022 report an increase of 3% (non-price adjusted) and decrease of 5% (price adjusted) when compared to the same period of 2021.

From the perspective of the European association, the plastics and rubber machinery industry in the region does not have a structural problem despite a restrained order situation.


Challenge of gas supply shortage and price increase  

The plastics industry is currently facing a variety of challenges, in particular, the supply chain disruption has not been eased and the prices for gas and steel are exploding.


Gas covers a quarter of Europe's energy needs, and 40% of the gas came from Russia. Luciano Anceschi, President of EUROMAP, told the journalists that “our response after the shortage was already very fast”, and currently Russian gas accounts for only 8% with the gas storage facilities well filled.

However, it is still important to develop or expand alternative, regenerative energy sources now. Luciano Anceschi hopes that the situation can be completely solved.


Offering his view, Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery, said the plastics industry is doing what it can do to solve the gas supply shortage and energy price increase in the short-term.

Nevertheless, the system may have to be changed in the long-term, commented Thorsten Kühmann. For example, EU may source more gas from Norway, and be more independent from pipelines from other places to Europe. “The good news is that we are working together!” he said.   


High level of international presence maintained for K 2022

K 2022 will house 3,026 exhibitors from 60 countries. The number of exhibitors drops slightly from 3,300 in K 2019. Among them, 307 Chinese exhibitors occupy 9,300sqm, which represents a drop as well. It is also expected that there will be less Asian visitors, especially from China.  

“Although it is difficult to travel back to China, but the Chinese exhibitors still occupy 9,300sqm,” said Thorsten Kühmann. He also emphasized that there is no change in the high level of international presence for K 2022.


The driving topics of K 2022 are climate protection, circular economy and digitalization. This year will once again see the Circular Economy Forum organized by VDMA. 13 of its member companies will demonstrate the pivotal importance of technology in the implementation of the circular economy.

The VDMA Dome at the center of the Forum will serve as an information point and meeting place. By means of “The Machine” installation, nearly 40 companies will present their technology highlights for key process steps of the plastics cycle.

For digitalization, OPC UA and EUROMAP will demonstrate live how OPC UA serves as a common platform for exchanging data. By scanning the QR-Codes on connected machines at the participating companies’ booths, visitors can read the live data on their smartphones.

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