Machinery / Latest Headlines

Plastics machinery shipments stay strong in Q4

For 2013 as a whole, the total value for primary plastics equipment shipments was up a solid 8% when compared with the annual total from 2012.

April 30, 2014

Business levels for manufacturers and suppliers of primary plastics machinery (injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, and thermoforming equipment) posted another strong quarterly performance in Q4 of 2013. According to statistics compiled and reported by the Committee on Equipment Statistics of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (, shipments of primary plastics equipment for reporting companies totaled an estimated $335.1 million in Q4.

This was the strongest quarterly total for all of 2013. The Q4 total represented a gain of 3% when compared with the impressive total from Q3 of 2013, and it was just slightly lower than the outstanding total from Q4 of 2012. For 2013 as a whole, the total value for primary plastics equipment shipments was up a solid 8% when compared with the annual total from 2012.

The shipments value of injection molding machinery decreased 5% in Q4 when compared with the unusually large total from Q4 of 2012. The shipments value of single-screw extruders slipped 2%, but the value of shipments of twin-screw extruders spiked up 72%. The shipments value for blow molding machines jumped 91% in Q4. The shipments total for the volatile thermoforming equipment sector fell 34% in Q4 when compared with last year.

The CES also compiles data on the auxiliary equipment segment (robotics, temperature control, materials handling, etc.) of the plastics machinery industry. New bookings of auxiliary equipment for reporting companies totaled $101.3 million in Q4. This represented a 1 perc3ent gain when compared with the robust total from Q3 of 2013. Precise year-ago comparisons for the auxiliary equipment data are not possible at the present time due to a significant change in the number of reporting companies for 2013. It can be reasonably concluded that the four-year uptrend in this data continued, and the quarterly and annual totals for 2013 represent a solid gain when compared with the comparable totals from 2012.

The gain in the CES data on plastics machinery shipments compares favorably to the increases in the two major data series compiled by the US government that measure activity levels in the industrial machinery sector. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, business investment in industrial equipment rose by 3% (seasonally-adjusted, annualized rate) in Q4 when compared with Q4 of 2012. The other important machinery market indicator, compiled by the Census Bureau, showed that the total value of shipments of industrial machinery escalated 25% in Q4.

“When it is combined with the data reported by the federal government, the CES data indicates that the recovery in the plastics machinery sector was gaining momentum at the end of last year," according to Bill Wood, the plastics market economist who analyzes and reports on this market sector for the CES. "These strong gains notwithstanding, the trends indicate that the manufacturing sector is poised for further growth in the coming quarters. Harsh winter weather constrained the recovery at the beginning of 2014, but accelerating economic growth will return in the springtime. This will generate further gains in the plastics machinery data," says Wood.

The CES also conducts a quarterly survey of plastics machinery suppliers that asks about present market conditions and expectations for the future. The responses from the Q4 survey were little changed from the Q3 survey, and they reveal an upbeat attitude that is broad-based across the industry. When asked about expectations for future market conditions, 87% of the respondents expect conditions to stay the same or even improve in the coming quarter, and 95% expect them to hold steady or get better during the next 12 months.

 North America and Mexico are still the regions where the strongest gains are expected, but expectations slipped a bit for Europe and Latin America. As for the major end-markets, the respondents expect that automotive, medical, and packaging will continue to be the strongest in terms of demand for plastics products and equipment. Expectations for the appliance and construction sectors were significantly improved. 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food and Beverage Packaging

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Rochester Mills Production Brewery tour- January 2015

Take a look inside the Rochester Mills Production Brewery in Auburn Hills, MI. The facility brews and cans five beer varieties from the Rochester Mills Beer Company. There the beer is made and packaged in 16-ounce cans, bound together in 4-packs and palletized for distribution. We went on a tour of the facility and got an in depth look at the total process.

Posted: January 30, 2015

Food and Beverage Packaging

FBP May 2015 Cover

2015 May

Check out the May 2015 issue of Food & Beverage Packaging, featuring a look at flexible packaging in the industry, lightweight product packaging as sustainable packaging, and much more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Coffee Segments

Which coffee segment will be impacted the most by coffee bean price increases?
View Results Poll Archive

The Food and Beverage Packaging Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\FBP\modified-atmosphere.gif
Modified Atmosphere and Active Packaging Technologies

Many factors are relevant in making the proper choice of food packaging material, including those related to shelf life and biodegradability.

More Products

The Packaging Guide

The Packaging Guide 2015 Cover

Food and Beverage Packaging's Packaging Guide Directory provides a list of suppliers of food and beveraeg packaging solutions. Visit the brand new online directory at


 Facebook iconTwitter iconYoutube icon LinkedIn icong+icon

Clear Seas Research

CS-OflRGBhomepage.jpgWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.