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VDMA: Order intake up 92% YOY in the first four months of 2021
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:18.Jun.2021

German manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery can look back positively on 2020: a year marked by the COVID-19, and despite the exceptional overall situation.


"After a difficult start, which was characterized by major challenges including a lockdown, incoming orders showed a rapid increase from the summer onwards," said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association in the VDMA. This was particularly noticeable in those sectors where hygiene is important, i.e. mainly in the packaging and medical industries.


Besides, the automotive industry has started to invest again following years of restraint and the construction industry has been booming for some time.


Recovery after the challenges of the pandemic


"All this resulted in a 7% increase in incoming orders compared to 2019, making plastics and rubber machinery manufacturing one of the few machinery sectors to close out 2020 with fuller order books than in 2019," Reifenhäuser continued.


In terms of sales, however, plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers witnessed a 12% decrease compared to the previous year, as they were still dominated by the negative trends of 2019 and the start of 2020.


In the first four months of 2021, order intake, recording an increase of 92%, was even almost twice as high as in the same period of 2020, and sales have also stabilized, showing a rise of 8%.


Shortage of materials is a concern


"Economically, the industry is currently doing very well again," commented Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association. "However, this also has its downsides in the strained supply chains, with regard to availability of necessary raw materials and components."


As per Thorsten Kühmann, in particular, the bottlenecks in the supply of plastics – which is impacting the willingness on the part of manufacturers to invest – and in the sector of metals and electronic components, could soon lead to the paradoxical situation of machine manufacturers having to curb production despite full order books.


USA and China are driving the upswing


With a view to foreign markets, exports by German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers fell by a total of 11% in 2020. However, deliveries to the USA, where the investment situation proved to be very robust, increased by 8%. The USA once again took top position among the most important German countries of delivery for plastics and rubber machinery.


China followed in second place with slightly declining exports (-3%). Nevertheless, local production of plastics and rubber machinery – including that of foreign manufacturers – is operating at full speed, as demand there is surging. This means that China remains the most important sales market for German plastics and rubber machinery.

The remaining BRIC countries Brazil, Russia and India also play an important role in the supply of German plastics and rubber machinery. All of them are among or near the top 20 of the most important customer countries, with the BRIC countries holding a total share of 23 percent of worldwide deliveries of German plastics and rubber machinery.


Driven by strong incoming order volumes, many companies in the plastics and rubber machinery sector expect good results this year. The trade association forecasts a sales increase of at least 10%.


Getting ready for K 2022


On the other hand, the mega trends of circular economy and climate protection through CO2 reduction, in conjunction with digitalization remain the defining themes – also at K trade fair in 2022.


VDMA member companies will present their technologies and projects for the circular economy to visitors in their own pavilions. The VDMA Dome with its showroom and interactive elements will provide the universal setting.


In addition, at the latest general meeting of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association, a new board was elected for the 2021 to 2024 term of office. Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Managing Partner of Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. KG Maschinenfabrik, once again holds the chair. Among other matters, the new board has set itself the task of improving the image of plastics and further promoting the plastics recycling industry.



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