Shipments of injection molding and extrusion machinery in North America decreased again in the second quarter of 2021, despite an uptick in orders, because supply chain problems are pushing back delivery schedules.
The preliminary estimate of shipment value from reporting companies totaled $320.9 million — a decrease of 4.2 percent from the first quarter of 2021, which was down 11.1 percent from the previous quarter.
The figures were compiled by the Washington-based Plastics Industry Association's Committee on Equipment Statistics, which found shipment values dropped in two of the three primary machinery categories tracked.
Trade group officials said the value of shipments of single-screw extruders increased significantly, by 33.1 percent, compared to the first quarter 2021, but fell for twin-screw extruders and injection molding machines by 24.9 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.
"While new orders of plastics equipment have been increasing, ongoing supply chain issues — shortage of parts and components — are causing longer order-to-delivery timelines. This explains the decrease in shipments in the second quarter," Perc Pineda, chief economist for the association, said in a news release.
Compared to a year ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused lockdowns and disruption, plastics equipment shipments are up 21 percent overall.
Pineda said shipments of injection molding, single- and twin-screw extruders were higher by 19.5 percent, 37.8 percent and 32.3 percent, respectively.
"This means that the underlying trend in plastics equipment demand remains upward sloping — still in sync with the robust economic recovery," Pineda said.