The German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association, part of Frankfurt-based VDMA, issues industry statistics, and its new leader came to Fakuma 2006 prepared.
>From January through August, German plastics and rubber machinery orders were up 20 percent, and sales were up 4 percent, from year-earlier figures. That shows the industry is rebounding from 2005, when orders declined 4 percent from 2004 and sales fell 7.5 percent, said VDMA Managing Director Thorsten Kuhmann.
In one big change, the U.S. has reclaimed its spot as the No. 1 export market for German-made plastics and rubber machinery, as China slipped to second place. The reason, Kuhmann said at the trade show in Friedrichshafen, is that China has cooled off.
``We've got a general development in China, where the investments in China seemed to slow down. Maybe it's because the Chinese [machinery] competitors are more successful in the market, but most probably also because the overall development in the Chinese plastics industry is slowing down a bit,'' Kuhmann said.
Russia is now a strong market for German machinery. German companies are selling lots of machines to Russia, as the economy benefits from that country's strong oil, natural gas and mining sectors, he said.