European Compounding Industry on Solid Grounds
Germany the Largest Producer of Compounds in Europe
According to a new publication from market researchers AMI, the compounding industry continues to play a key role in the European plastics economy. The improving European economy and continued penetration of plastic components in sectors such as the automotive industry and domestic appliances has helped to drive growth and investment in the compounding industry.
Germany remains the largest producer of compounds in Europe and is still a country which has seen investment to expand capacity. In 2017 Lehmann&Voss, for example, laid the foundation for a EUR 4.5 million laboratory and technical center and Delta Kunststoffe invested in a new twin extruder.
The pull of Central and Eastern Europe, like many other parts of the European plastics industry, has been a big draw for companies looking to capitalize on the cheap labor force and operating costs. Investment by the compounding industry in this region has also been driven by OEM manufacturing in the region for cars and domestic appliances. Towards the end of 2017, A. Schulman announced the addition of new extruders at its facilities in Poland and Hungary whilst European machinery producers have seen exports increase in 2017 with Poland and the Czech Republic both being in the top 10 for export markets.
According to AMI’s new database of compounders in Europe, Germany and Italy are the largest markets regarding production. But also smaller countries have a noticeable compounding industry and the Benelux region has a reasonably large volume of production in comparison with the overall size of its polymer market as many international companies use it as a base to supply the European market. These countries also have substantial compounding operations operated by the polymer producers. Whilst integrated compounders account for only around 10% of the companies operating in Europe, they are estimated to supply nearly half of all compounded polymers (excluding masterbatch).
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