Freedonia Group has published the sixth edition of its “Global Plastics Processing Machinery by Product and Market”. According to this latest report, the market for plastics processing equipment is expected to grow 5.6% annually through 2021, representing an improvement over the 2011-2016 period. More stable economic conditions will encourage plastics processors to replace older machinery and undertake capacity expansions.
China now has overtaken the major West European producers, emerging as a leading global supplier of injection moulding machinery, writes the report. Formerly, most of China’s locally produced equipment was purchased internally, and exports were limited.
Chinese producers have made a strong export push in recent years, however, and in 2015 China became a net exporter of plastics processing equipment for the first time. Although equipment produced in China is sold in every major market worldwide, gains have been strongest in developing markets where purchase price is the primary consideration.
In addition, demand for plastics processing machinery in China is projected to advance 5.1% per year to $10.8 billion in 2021, with growth being driven by the country's rising middle class and its appetite for more premium plastic goods.
To satisfy demand, processors are purchasing increasingly higher-end machines.
3D plastics printers will see the fastest gains of any product type, but will account for only 4% of total demand in 2021. Unlike the US and Western Europe, where most traditional plastics processing activity has long been offshored, China remains the global centre for large-scale mass production of commodity goods. This will limit interest in the supply chain and customization advantages that 3D printing offers developed world manufacturers.
The consumer/institutional market will see the fastest growth of any market, increasing 5.6% per year through 2021. China's middle class will again drive gains for this market, with construction seeing less demand due to a slowdown in infrastructure development