New statistics show packaging and converting machinery shipments grew by more than 10 percent in the United States in 2021, and the trend is expected to continue for years to come.
The value of domestic packaging machinery shipments hit $10.5 billion last year, a jump of 11.2 percent from 2020, according to the Industry Packaging Machinery report from the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, a trade group that also goes by PMMI.
Shipments also are expected to increase a compounded annual growth rate of 5.4 percent to hit $12.9 billion in annual sales in 2027.
In the converting machinery category, domestic shipments increased by 9.5 percent to $1.1 billion in 2021, PMMI reported.
"The demand for packaging machinery is largely driven by the increase in consumer goods demand, rise in adoption of automated packaging machines, and development of energy efficient machines," PMMI said in announcing the new numbers. "Advancements in electronics, computing technologies and rising awareness of the inherent benefits of automation have encouraged numerous industries to embrace integrated packaging machinery solutions."
With this growing interest in automation, PMMI said that robotic packaging automation will emerge in both primary and secondary packaging in the years ahead.
"There is tremendous opportunity in these segments for more growth and innovation as equipment manufacturers leverage growing trends like e-commerce, sustainability, and the rise in automation," PMMI said.
A recent white paper from PMMI indicates that consumer packaged goods companies are increasingly looking at robots and cobots — collaborative robots that work alongside humans.
"Expanded intelligence, mobility, and sensing capabilities are opening up new applications for robots and cobots in processing, primary packaging, secondary packaging and transport packaging," the trade group said. "As a result, usage is growing along the entire line from initial inputs to end-of-line."
Exports of U.S. packaging machinery totaled $733 million in 2021, a 5.8 percent increase. There also was a $3.7 billion backlog in orders, up 19.2 percent.
Filling and dosing machinery made up 13.6 percent of the U.S. market in 2021 and labeling, decorating and coding machinery was 13 percent. The largest segment was case handling machinery at 16.2 percent.