Analysis of Polish tool industry regarding polymer processing

Also analysed in the study were the changes in employment in 2020 compared to 2019. Notably, in 53% of cases the employment has increased which may be surprising given the fact that in nearly two-thirds of companies the 2020 proceeds were lower or at the least equal to those in 2019.

Total employment calculated as full-time jobs over 2019 and 2020 (as of 31st December) was virtually unchanged and amounted to 4330 employees. Assuming the surveyed companies constituted 30% of the population in service toolshops in Poland, we can assume that the sector employs about 13,000 people.

The population of companies is highly diverse in terms of revenues. Large entities with 20 million PLN revenues comprise about 30% of the surveyed, whereas 12% are entities conducting small-scale activity with revenues below 1 million PLN. This confirms the above mentioned information regarding the structure of companies indicating that the majority of them are small and medium companies.

Nearly 100% of the moulds manufactured by the companies participating in the survey are injection moulds. Apart from these, the companies also manufacture blow moulds. This shows that Poland specialised in manufacturing of injection moulds as one of the typical tools for polymer material processing. In 2019, they produced 992 injection moulds and 35 blow moulds, whereas in 2020 the production was at 827 and 61, respectively.

The above data indicates that the 2020 crisis led to a visible change in order quantities. Once again, this is a surprising information given the increased employment in over 50% of the companies.

Taking into the account that the surveyed companies constituted 30% of service toolshops in Poland we can estimate that the entirety of the sector’s annual production is at approx. 3000 tool forms (in service activities).

Export activity

In respect of the functioning of the sector, an important element is the share of export in sales. It should be noted that as many as 27 companies out of the 34 participants of the survey manufacture tools for foreign clients, which is close to 80% of the companies.

There are many European countries among the recipients, most commonly mentioned are: Germany, France, Denmark, Netherlands and Russia. Less commonly mentioned markets were Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Sweden, Portugal, Lithuania, Finland, Hungary and Italy. Also worth noting, are more distant markets for tools manufactured by Polish companies. Among them are, for example: Mexico, RSA, USA, China and India.

As for ICS revenues, 60% of companies earn revenue below 5 million PLN while the remaining 40% earn revenue greater than that amount. When comparing years 2019 and 2020, the share in the respective revenue ranges is virtually unchanged.

Investments and innovations

In spite of the 2020 crisis, over 90% of companies attempted investment efforts which were greatly focused on innovation. The scale of expenditures was varied and largely depended on the of the entity.

Taking into account the significant, approx. 10% decline in investment in total economy, it appears to be a good result.

Also analysed in the survey were the sources of investment and innovation financing which provided unexpected results in certain areas as well. While the relatively large share of own funds is not surprising, which have to be present in most investments, including partially financed by credit or EU funds, the relatively low share of EU funds in investment financing does seem unusual.

Whereas the EU funds are generally used in case of 38% of the companies in the investment, in relation to investing in innovations the EU funds are used by only 26% of the entities. It seems the proportions should have rather been reversed. The relatively small share of bank funds in innovation funding, in turn, is not surprising. From the banks’ perspective these investments are usually characterised by a greater degree of risk.