Engel Holding GmbH CEO Peter Neumann painted a bleak picture of the current injection molding machine market at an Engel technical symposium May 28 in St. Valentin.
Global sales this year are likely to total just 39,000 units, he said, compared with 91,000 units in 2007. For Europe, a market of 7,000 machines is forecast half the level of two years ago. For the U.S., unit sales of 4,000 units are expected, compared with 7,000 in 2007, while the Asian market is forecast at 28,000 machines. compared with 70,000 for the previous year.
Neumann confirmed the collapse in press sales to the automotive sector, saying they are likely to plunge 70 percent in 2009. Sales to the technical molding sector are forecast to drop by 65 percent.
Packaging will be off by 15 percent. Only medical sales, with a projected 5 percent rise, will show a positive trend.
For Engel, based in Schwertberg, Austria, the impact of the crisis is likely to be a sales drop to 400 million euros ($555 million) for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, compared with 591 million euros for 2008-09.
Describing the situation as very critical, Neumann stressed that the privately owned firm has the necessary resources to cope. However, he said Engel is handicapped compared with its German competitors by Austrian regulations requiring workers on short time to be paid 90 percent of their full salary.
Engel put its market share at 27 percent in the European market last year, compared with 19 percent in 2004, Neumann said. Worldwide, he estimates the firm holds 13 percent market share.
He stressed that Engel will maintain its research and development efforts. Some 20 machines with a variety of technologies were on display at the company's St. Valentin plant home of its bigger machine range.