In its report, ‘The future of the European Injection Moulding Industry’,it assesses the current status of the injection moulding industry in Europe, the impact of the recession and the prospects for recovery.
Western Europe 27% closures
According to Sylvia Tabero, consultant, AMI, since 2005, Western Europe has seen the closure of more than 27% of its injection moulding sites, although the number has grown in Central and Eastern Europe.
AMI’s analysis suggests the number of moulding sites in Europe will reduce by a further 2% by 2018.
“The packaging sector remains by far the largest injection moulding market in terms of polymer volume consumed, particularly because it includes demand for PET preforms,” said Tabero.
“The packaging sector is almost equally important across every country because it typically serves local consumer demand. By comparison the automotive market is the most valuable injection moulding sector and its demand is increasingly being focused in countries retaining or attracting vehicle assembly.
“Within Europe the shift of moulded volume from Western to Central and Eastern Europe has largely been a result of following the investment by customers, particularly the automotive and electrical appliance manufacturers.
“However, the economic development of these regions has also created a larger consumer market to the benefit of the whole moulding sector.”
The report states within Europe, individual countries face different economic prospects but throughout the region injection moulders are challenged by OEM price pressure, rising raw material costs and the risks of manufacturing shifting to lower cost locations.
Polymer processed sites 7% lower than in 2007
Tabero added the value of the European plastics injection moulding industry in 2014 was 11% higher than its pre-crisis value: although the volume of polymer processed was still about 7% lower than in 2007.
“Much of the value increase is associated with higher raw material costs but the industry has striven to maximise the potential of new and added value opportunities,” she said.
“The global recession accelerated the process of rationalisation of the European injection moulding industry that had been underway for several years, particularly in Western Europe.”
Using analysis of AMI's proprietary injection moulding database the report tracks the structural changes within the industry which is reported to involve more than 8,500 different companies across Europe.
These range from small, family owned concerns up to multinational groups. The importance of moulding to the overall business can also vary significantly resulting in a wide range of business models within the industry.
Western Europe has continued to experience most contraction with more than 2,000 moulding sites closing since 2007.
In Central and Eastern Europe closures have been more than offset by new entrants: the region continues to attract a high level of new investment.
The overall rate of decline in moulding sites is forecast to slow down, however, polymer demand and industry value for injection moulded products is forecast to grow across almost every market sector.
Source: AMI Consulting
Publication: The future of the European Injection Moulding Industry
Date: January 2015
Author: Sylvia Tabero
Product scope: Plastic injection moulded goods.
Market scope: For the analysis of end-use market demand the following segments are reviewed: Packaging; Automotive; Electrical goods; Housewares; Furniture; Building; Toys; Other injection moulding (medical, optical media, horticulture/agriculture).
Reporting years: Data is provided for 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014 (as forecast at Q4 2014) together with a forecast for 2018.