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VDMA: Increase in sales and decline in orders in 2023

The German plastics and rubber machinery industry closed 2023 with higher sales but also a decline in orders, according to the VDMA trade association.

Despite adverse circumstances on the international markets, the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association reports that the industry closed 2023 with a price-adjusted increase in sales of 13 percent, or 22 percent in nominal terms. "This growth is pleasing and shows that companies have been able to acquire many orders in recent years, which have now been successively fulfilled. However, the signs have changed significantly worldwide in the meantime. Most companies have worked through their order backlog and are currently facing up to the issue of underutilization,” explains Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association (photo). In addition to the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, the high energy costs, inflation and high interest rates, which leaded to uncertainty and higher costs and therefore less investment on the part of plastics processors, were particularly weighing on machine manufacturers. "After we already had to cope with a price-adjusted decline of 13% in 2022, last year we again recorded 22% fewer orders on the books after adjusting for prices. As a result, many companies are having to take countermeasures by introducing short-time working,” warns Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association. Ulrich Ackermann, Head of VDMA Foreign Trade, commented on the geopolitical changes and their impact on the mechanical engineering industry: “The globalization of the world economy is coming under increasing pressure. China is focusing on autonomy with corresponding consequences for the European mechanical engineering industry, and in the USA, the Biden administration has continued the “national approach” of the Trump government's trade policy in recent years. As a result, the world is heading towards a new bipolar world order." For the European mechanical engineering industry, this is said to mean the need to have its own production facilities in large target markets and to offer market-specific products. Many plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers had already adapted to this.
At the general meeting on June 5, 2024, the company representatives also elected the new board of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association for the next three years. According to the information provided, Ulrich Reifenhäuser (Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. KG Maschinenfabrik) will remain Chairman of the Board. The following were also elected as members of the Board: Gerhard Böhm, ARBURG GmbH + Co KG, Jörg Bremer, KraussMaffei Group GmbH, Dr. Stefan Engleder, ENGEL Austria GmbH, Sandra Füllsack, motan holding gmbh, Manfred Hackl, EREMA Group GmbH, Thomas Holzer, TROESTER GmbH & Co. KG, Dr. Henning Stieglitz, battenfeld-cincinnati Germany GmbH, Markus Vollmer, Kampf Schneid- und Wickeltechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Dr. Axel von Wiedersperg, Brückner Group SE (Deputy Chairman), Dr. Sascha Witt, Windmöller & Hölscher KG and Rainer Zimmermann, AZO GmbH & Co. KG.

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