Extremely positive feedback from the Russian market
interplastica and upakovka attracted 24,900 trade visitors
The positive feedback received lately from the Russian market and, in particular, from the plastics, rubber and packaging industry as well as the process industries associated with it has now been confirmed very emphatically at the two trade fairs interplastica (the 21st International Plastics and Rubber Trade Fair), and upakovka – Processing and Packaging. The upswing in major market segments is leading to strong demand for plastic and rubber products as well as packaging. The manufacturers of these products are investing as much as they can in modern production technologies and materials, in order to be able to satisfy the increasingly exacting requirements made by their customers. About 900 companies from 30 countries presented their innovations at the two trade fairs in the SAO Expocenter in Krasnaja Presnja from 23. to 26. January and were unanimous in reporting a tremendous response and impressive business success. 24,900 experts from all over Russia and from the neighbouring countries visited interplastica and upakovka. 23,000 visitors were registered in 2017.
Werner M. Dornscheidt, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, was satisfied with the trade fairs: “To the extent that the Russian economy is developing positively and reliably, Russian companies are taking advantage of the two leading industry showcases. This is where they can get to know the new developments on the world market and enter into intensive negotiations with the suppliers directly. The exhibitors that maintained a consistent presence in Russia under poorer market conditions as well are now benefitting to a particularly large extent from their good contacts in the industry. In addition to the conclusion of many sales contracts, the high quality of the demand was a very important sign that an economically attractive future is beginning.”
The trade visitors were in turn very impressed by the wide range of innovative products and services on show that gave them a valuable insight into trends and future market opportunities. The improvement in the rouble exchange rate is now helping to enable Russian companies that had to defer necessary purchases in the recent crisis years to invest in the modernisation of their production.
Global exports of plastics and rubber machinery to Russia declined for a number of years. In 2016 (more recent figures are not available yet), the total value of supplies to Russia from all over the world amounted to about EUR 326 million, which was almost 43 per cent lower than in the previous year. Two of the most important sources of supply – Germany and Italy – are, however, reporting that exports increased enormously in 2017. From January to November 2017, German deliveries of plastics and rubber machinery to Russia totalled EUR 104.1 million, which represents growth of 43.5 per cent over the same period the previous year (source: VDMA plastics and rubber machinery association). The Italian manufacturers of machines, equipment and moulds for the processing of plastics and rubber delivered goods worth EUR 73 million to Russia in the first nine months of last year, which amounts to 109 per cent more than in the same period of 2016. According to AMAPLAST, the Italian industry association, this means that Russia is one of the ten most important export destinations again, following very poor years that were attributable to economic sanctions and difficult market conditions.
Thorsten Kühmann, Director of the VDMA plastics and rubber machinery association, is confident about the current situation on the Russian market: “The patience and persistence shown by the German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers, who continued to cultivate German-Russian business relationships even in bad economic times, paid off in 2017. After years of decline, deliveries from Germany increased substantially. As a result, the poor previous year was already exceeded considerably in the first eleven months of 2017. This economic recovery is being supported by an improvement in the basic mood in the Russian economy. This is leading to greater willingness to invest, which is being reflected primarily in the packaging sector.
In 2016 – when there was a recession – the German market share amounted to 26.3 per cent, followed by China with 24.4 per cent and Italy with 12.0 per cent. This means that it will continue to be important for the German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers to maintain their local presence in future as well, in order to be able to keep the small lead they hold on the market. We expect the Russian economy to continue its recovery and to stimulate investments in the packaging industry, since demand for high-quality packaged goods is growing. An increasing number of positive signs are coming from the automotive sector and the construction industry too. Machines “made in Germany” will benefit from this and will strengthen their position as market leaders in Russia. We are, however, starting from a low level following years of recession. For the time being – in the short term – it cannot be expected that the heights reached by German exports of plastics and rubber machinery in the exceptionally good years of 2012 and 2013 will be repeated.
Bernd Nötel, the on-site VDMA manager responsible for interplastica, confirmed the positive response to German exhibits at the trade fair. He pinpointed three trends that will guarantee good business in future as well: “Industry 4.0 is an issue that has reached Russia. Russian experts are very interested in the potential of being able to operate efficiently and sustainably with networked production systems – with particular emphasis on saving energy and material costs. A number of interplastica exhibitors had solutions for this on their stands.
The importance of recycling is increasing too: close attention is being paid in Russia to the “European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy”, which the European Commission has compiled. It is expected not only that there will be growth in plastics recycling activities – including household waste – but also that the proportion of materials used that is accounted for by recyclate will increase. With a corresponding impact on machine technology too.
The third interesting observation at interplastica: the manufacturers of tools and moulds are operating to an increasing extent as system suppliers and provide their customers with comprehensive solutions in co-operation with machine manufacturers.”
The Italian manufacturers of machines and equipment are also reporting an increase in the requirements made by customers in Russia and the neighbouring countries. Mario Maggiani, AMAPLAST Director: “What have been sold in recent months have primarily been high-quality extrusion lines and other core machinery with high added value, often manufactured in accordance with the customer’s specifications. Russian processors are investing not only to expand their production lines but also to increase their quality. Italian manufacturers are benefitting from this, because they have a good reputation in the country and are in a position to supply turnkey high-tech equipment that meets the most demanding of quality and productivity requirements.” Maggiani does not expect sales levels reached by Italian plastics machinery manufacturers in 2007, for example, with a total volume of more than EUR 200 million, to be matched in the foreseeable future: “That will be neither easy nor possible in the short term. Demand in the Russian plastics processing sector for mature technologies to satisfy customers’ needs for high-quality products will definitely be continuing to increase, however. The positive response from the market makes the Italian suppliers optimistic. They feel vindicated, since they continued to believe in the potential of the market even in difficult times and maintained a consistent presence as a result.” More than 50 companies from Italy, about 40 of which exhibited on the joint AMAPLAST stand, experienced lively demand during the trade fair and are expecting good business as they follow up the event.
Innovative technologies for all areas of plastics processing were presented not only on the stands of the 650 interplastica exhibitors but also in the lectures and discussions held at the Polymer Plaza in Hall 1 as well as in the context of the special 3D fab-+print Russia show. In technical talks and demonstrations, Russian and international experts focussed on developments in and the potential of additive manufacturing. For Petra Cullmann, Global Portfolio Director Plastics & Rubber at Messe Düsseldorf, the well-attended conference and exhibition were a clear indication of the need to concentrate on this topic in future as well: “There is strong demand for information about this technology. About half of the visitors to interplastica already reported that they went or planned to go to the special 3D fab+print show when the event premiered in 2017. This is clear confirmation to us that we should give particularly high priority to this increasingly important subject in the coming year too, making sure that high-profile experts are available to share their expertise.”
The next interplastica in Moscow is taking place from 29 January to 1 February 2019, again at the same time as upakovka. More detailed information is available in the Internet at www.interplastica.de as well as from Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, Caroline Erben, tel. +49 211/4560-436, e-mail: ErbenC@messe-duesseldorf.de, and Claudia Wolfgram, tel. +49 211/4560-7712, e-mail WolfgramC@messe-duesseldorf.de