FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, GERMANY — The number seven seems to be special for European plastics machinery makers at the moment — injection press giant Engel Holding GmbH said Oct. 15 that sales this year will likely go up 7 percent, the same increase that rival Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH projected a day earlier for its 2014 global sales.
Engel, which is the world's largest injection molding machine maker based on sales, told a news conference at Fakuma 2014 in Germany that expansion in Asia is driving the jump this year, after its sales were down a nominal 1.5 percent in its last fiscal year.
“This 7 percent now comes mainly from our activities in Asia,” Engel CEO Peter Neumann told journalists. “For sure also our factories in Austria, they are running close to 100 percent utilization or even a little more.”
That would put sales for Schwertberg, Austria-based Engel at 1 billion euros in the fiscal year ending in March, up from 935 million euros in the 12 months ending in March 2014.
“All told, the global markets continue to be stable, even though political conflicts have weakened individual regions,” Neumann said, in a news release.
Russia, for example, has seen demand drop in half this year because of the crisis in Ukraine, but positive developments are expected in the next six months, Christoph Steger, Engel's chief sales officer, said at the briefing.
Russia was Europe's third-largest market for molding machines last year, with 1,500 units sold, Engel said.
Europe's second-largest injection press market, Turkey, is showing positive signs and India is “slowly waking up again,” Engel said.
“China, the USA and Mexico continue to be Engel's fastest-growing markets,” Steger said.
Engel said packaging and medical industry investments are strong among its customer end markets, while automotive is mixed — overall reinvestment continues to decrease slightly, but interest is high in innovation intensive areas like automobile lightweighting and plastic composite molding.