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.
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.