The value of second-quarter shipments of injection molding and extrusion equipment dropped almost 20 percent to $331.6 million in a much more subdued manufacturing landscape compared with a year ago.
The year-over-year decline of 19.8 percent was reported Aug. 16 by the Plastic Industry Association's Committee on Equipment Statistics.
The value of machinery shipments tracked by CES decreased 4.1 percent compared with the previous quarter.
Single-screw extruders, however, stand out among the lower numbers, which also take into account twin-screw extruders and injection molding presses. Shipments of single-screw extruders exhibited a remarkable increase, according to a news release from the Washington-based trade association.
Shipments of the extruders used to manufacture many building products, such as some plastic pipes and vinyl window profiles, were up 39.3 percent compared with the prior quarter and up 40.9 percent compared with 2022.
Meanwhile, shipments of twin-screw extruders, which are used for compounding and food packaging, experienced significant declines of 15 percent quarter over quarter and 11.2 percent year over year.
At the same time, shipments of injection molding machinery declined 6.1 percent from quarter to quarter and have experienced a substantial decrease of 23.6 percent when compared to the prior year.
The crucial indicators for machinery sales also are down, according to Bill Wood, Plastics News' economics editor and founder of Mountaintop Economics & Research Inc.
"The industrial output of plastics products is down 6 percent on the year to date, and the capacity utilization rate for processors is down in the past 12 months from about 84 percent at the peak, according to the government's measurement, to 77 percent," Wood said in a phone interview. "So output of product is down and use of existing capacity is way down. You're not going to sell new machines into that environment."
Wood said extruder data can be very volatile because it draws from a small sample of machine builders. Also, twin-screw extruder data is not broken down.
"They don't distinguish between compounding co-rotating extruders and counter-rotating extruders," Wood said. "I don't know if people are buying compounding extruders or making big huge pipe or decking."