12. July 2018

Demand for plastics and plastics processing increases

Fakuma Internationale Fachmesse für Kunststoffverarbeitung logo uai

Fakuma benefits from positive industry trend

Plastics are booming. However, not only the demand is increasing, but also the demands on material and processing quality. Modern solutions for high-quality plastics processing will be on display at Fakuma – International Trade Fair for Plastics Processing from October 16 to 20, 2018 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Good mood, rising demand

The mood among European plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers is excellent. Since 2009, production has increased to an estimated 15.3 billion euros, a 99 percent increase over the last eight years. In 2017, production in the industry, which is organized in the umbrella association Euromap, even grew at an above-average rate of seven percent. It’s no wonder that plastics processors are doing well, as they are being used more frequently, more efficiently and with greater variety, and not just in automotive and packaging technology. Fakuma will also showcase potential applications in the construction sector. For example, BASF recently increased production capacity for “Neopor,” which is used as an insulating material, by 40,000 metric tons a year. The gray successor to the classic styrofoam is lighter and more efficient than its white predecessor.

New materials, high-tech processing

But it is not only the latest materials and their possible applications that will be presented in Friedrichshafen. The simultaneously increasing demand for ever higher performance and best quality requires constant readiness for innovation and new developments. Whether injection molding or extrusion, thermal forming, foaming or 3D printing – at the exclusive industry get-together, raw material producers, mechanical engineers and manufacturers of technical parts will present what they have to offer in terms of innovations along the entire value chain. Numerous exhibitors use the trade show, which is becoming increasingly well-known internationally, to present their innovations to a broad audience for the first time. There is no end in sight to the success of the industry (and Fakuma, which represents the industry). With order books still full, Euromap expects sales to grow by two percent this year. The willingness to invest in new machines and systems remains high, which has an impact on delivery times for materials and machines. At the same time, the steady growth is also being held back by the shortage of skilled workers. “However, this fact should give a boost to the automation solutions on display at Fakuma,” analyzes Fakuma project manager Annemarie Schur.

Plastics doing well worldwide

Plastics have long since ceased to be a German or European business. This is evident from the long-distance trade visitors the industry event has attracted in recent years. Trade visitors, experts and decision-makers came to the past 2017 event from more than 120 countries. The call of about 1900 exhibitors was followed by 48,375 experts to the border triangle of Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Lake Constance. And the trend is upward. In addition to numerous participants from Germany and Europe, the proportion from the Asian region in particular is increasing. Asians are also the beneficiaries of international industry growth. According to Euromap, Chinese competitors in particular gained strength. In 2017, they already produced machinery and equipment worth 11.1 billion euros, 180 percentage points higher than in 2009.