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Home > News > Regional News

Perspective: AMAPLAST forecasts substantial readjustment for 2024

Source:Adsale Plastics Network Date :2024-05-20 Editor :VC
Copyright: This article was originally written/edited by Adsale Plastics Network (AdsaleCPRJ.com), republishing and excerpting are not allowed without permission. For any copyright infringement, we will pursue legal liability in accordance with the law.

The Italian plastics and rubber machinery industry closed the year of 2023 with turnover of 4.8 billion euros, presenting its record-breaking performance with a gain of 2.8% over 2022. This remarkable result derives foremost from exports, which amounted to 3.59 billion euros with 10.8% increase over the previous year.

 

However, after the supply chain crisis has been resolved with orders piling up in 2021 and 2022, AMAPLAST, the Italian Plastics and Rubber Processing Machinery and Moulds Manufacturers’ Association, predicts a substantial readjustment in 2024 as some “shadows” hanging in the short-to-medium term.

 

Mario Maggiani, General Manager, AMAPLAST, told Adsale Plastics Network that the enthusiasm is moderated somewhat by a general feeling of uncertainty. “The war in the Middle East, the rise in interest rates, and widespread instability herald a complicated 2024 that looks unlikely to replicate the good performance of 2023.”

 

Amaplast_480.jpg

Mario Maggiani, Managing Director of AMAPLAST.

 

Overcoming sustainability challenges

 

Nevertheless, the image of plastic is the biggest challenge the plastics industry is facing, and various environmental rules and regulations in force keep checking the use of plastics. said Maggiani.

 

From his point of view, chemical and mechanical recycling can address the environmental concerns. “Plastic is still such a versatile material that we cannot live without it and creates new opportunities every day. It is all about managing it properly and reaping the benefits.”  

 

“Statistics prove that there are several application sectors where plastic will continue to grow and present opportunities in the coming years,” he remarked. “There is no material providing better performance in packaging, for example, than plastic. An extended shelf-life for food products can be guaranteed by plastic packaging only. There is no alternative.”

 

According to Maggiani, packaging represents over 40% of the total consumption of plastics in Italy; construction has been recording a considerable growth; automotive is also a big contributor, especially the rapid development of electric cars will have a huge impact; aerospace and healthcare are also upcoming sectors for plastics application.

 

Maggiani stressed that Italian manufactures have been working closely and hard on energy saving and other green topics, such as reduction of raw materials consumption and products’ thickness, increase of shelf-life to improve food storage, etc.; they also have a rich experience in recycling and processing recycled materials.

 

Shortage of trained personnel

 

Skills development is another huge bottleneck in the European plastics industry. “The situation is very challenging. There is a lack of trained personnel and we will not have a prepared workforce ready in the near future,” said Maggiani.

 

“Currently, technical degrees in plastics technology have small enrollment numbers, which is not helping to reduce the gap between the supply and demand of skilled personnel,” he added.   

 

According to him, the vast majority of the engineers from the prominent colleges in Milan get employed almost immediately after graduation. There is also a huge lack of technicians in the industry. “The demand is so strong that a technician can earn a salary similar to an engineer, but companies still cannot find the right talent.”

 

Expecting increase in orders from China

 

In the last ten years, the Italian exports of plastics and rubber machinery to China increased at a CAGR of 3.3%, and an increase of 12% was posted in 2023 when compared with 2022. Notably, a considerable amount of the total exports was represented by extruders and extrusion lines.

 

“Generally speaking, extrusion lines are often high value-added plants tailor-made on specific requests of the customers. This well represents the demand of the Chinese processors for customized machinery to improve their competitiveness,” said Maggiani.

 

AMAPLAST expects a further increase in orders from China for the years to come. According to the latest figures released by CPPIA, the China Plastics Processing Industry Association, China’s plastics processing industry still needs to modernize its machinery fleet.

 

“To this purpose, they have to apply Western technologies. Therefore, there is still room for the Italian manufacturers to provide their highly customized equipment,” said Maggiani.

 

Chinese plastics enterprises are expanding overseas market quickly. When asked about his view on the competition from Chinese machinery manufacturers, Maggiani expressed positive opinion on this trend.


Italian Pavilion_1_480.jpg 

At CHINAPLAS 2024, AMAPLAST coordinated the Italian pavilion with more than 40 exhibitors in an exhibition area of more than 1,500sqm.

 

“On the occasion of CHINAPLAS 2024, we had the opportunity to directly observe the degree of technological improvement achieved by Chinese suppliers,” he said. “We must acknowledge that Chinese machine manufacturers’ know-how and engagement have widened to other categories from machinery that are usually manufactured on a standard basis such as injection molding presses, and the technology gap is narrowing.”

 

“From one side this trend could be seen as a threat by the European manufacturers, but it is also a stimulus to develop new cutting-edge solutions for efficient production,” he commented.

 


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