Italian machinery sector set to post record year

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Photo by Negri Bossi

The Italian plastic and rubber machinery sector is set to post a 5% growth for the year 2017, with an estimated all-time high of €4.5 billion worth of production, according to the Italian rubber & plastics machinery manufacturers association Amaplast.

In a 19 Dec statement, the association said figures by the Italian statistics centre ISTAT suggested a 12% increase in imports of machinery and a 16% rise in exports of machinery year on year during January-September 2017.

Amaplast president Alessandro Grassi put down the success to “technological innovation” and offering products within the “industry 4.0 regime”.

Over the 9-month period, some 70% of Italian production was exported, with most machinery types showing “good performance”.

Some of the best performing segments were thermoforming machines, with 51% growth, and extruders, with 19% growth. By contrast, mono/multifilament and machines for foamed products demonstrated a markedly weaker growth during this same period.

Europe represented 61% of the exports, registering a 20% growth.

In terms of geography, Europe represented 61% of the exports, registering a 20% growth.

Amaplast said the growth was attributable to significant increases in sales to Germany, Spain and France which posted 25%, 11% and 15% growth respectively.

In addition to the three traditional markets, Amaplast noted “continued recovery” in sales to Russia.  These demonstrated a healthy 109% growth, bringing Russia, said the association,  back within the top 10 export destinations for Italian machinery.

In NAFTA, exports rose 12%, despite a drop in Mexico’s imports.

The opposite trend was seen in Asia, however,  as two principal markets in the Middle East - Iran and Saudi Arabia  - posted declines of 5% and 34%, respectively.

According to Amaplast, the “excellent” trend in the UAE and Israel was not enough to offset the declines, leading to an overall fall of 5%.

Elsewhere in Asia, two major Far East markets, China and India continued to record “negative or very weak trends”, with China posting a 11% decline and India showing a mere 1% growth.

Africa, which as a whole absorbs less than 3% of Italian exports of plastic and rubber processing machinery, reported a 22% rise in demand, mainly in the Mediterranean countries, with Algeria and Egypt in the lead.

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