Machine builders: supply chain risks offset signs of recovery

On the positive side, groups have reported increases in domestic and export markets.

Amaplast said that compared to the very difficult first half of 2020, orders from its member companies increased by 46% from January to June of this year and exports increased by 25%.

The Italian association said it was “driven by double-digit sales growth in key destination markets such as the United States, Germany, China and Poland”.

“A strong recovery is also observed in the domestic market, with a greater propensity for investment resulting from incentives in government industrial plans,” said the Italian group. “The outlook for the coming months is marked by optimism reinforced by positive signals from various markets and applications.”

He said the impact of the pandemic was not as severe as the association had feared during the darkest moments of the public health crisis.

“The final toll of the difficult year of the pandemic was less negative than one might expect, thanks to the acceleration of the recovery in the last quarter,” Amaplast said.

Likewise, the German VDMA reported a strong end of 2020 and a solid start to 2021, driven by demand for plastic equipment in the packaging, medical automotive and construction markets.

Overall sales for 2020 were 12% lower than 2019 levels, but new business meant order books in 2020 were stronger, the association said in a June report.

“All of this translated into a 7% increase in incoming orders compared to 2019, making plastic and rubber machinery manufacturing one of the few machine sectors to close 2020 with more order books. fulfilled only in 2019, ”said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, President of the Rubber and Plastics Machinery Group within VDMA. “Incoming orders have shown a rapid increase from the summer.”

Like the Italians, the German industry, the largest in Europe for manufacturing plastic machinery, is heavily dependent on exports.

He also said strong US and Chinese markets were “the engine of the recovery.”

The United States has reclaimed its place as the number one export destination for German machinery, VDMA said.

Overall, he said exports fell 11% in 2020, but shipments of plastic and rubber machinery rose 8% in the United States, where the VDMA said “the situation of investments has proven to be very robust “.

For China, the Germans said that while exports to Asia’s largest economy fell 3%, local demand remained strong and factories of German companies in China “were operating at full capacity.”

“Overall, this means that China remains the most important sales market for German machines for plastics and rubber,” VDMA said.

In June, the German association said it expected a sales increase of at least 10% for its plastic and rubber machinery companies in 2021 and suggested that some companies might “expect to record results this year ”.

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