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Analysis of the plastic tube market

Just a few weeks before the International Tube and Pipe Trade Fair, Tube 2008, in Düsseldorf, another sector is reporting successful developments. In addition to the steel industry, which is currently posting one positive result after another, the German plastic tube industry is charting a course for significant growth. As Dr. Elmar Löckenhoff, Managing Director of the Kunststoffrohrverband e.V. (Plastic Tube Association), states in the preface of the KRV business report 2007, the German plastic tube industry is also benefiting from globalisation. - This is shown specifically by the opening of the Eastern European markets - he admits.

- In the previous decades, plastic tube systems have continued to enter new areas of application and have supplemented or even almost replaced the range of hitherto traditional materials - declares Dr. Löckenhoff. - For example, at the end of the year, plastic tube manufacturers were close to succeeding in the area of gas pipes in residential installations, "The technical and scientific conditions for the use of plastic tube systems in this area of application have been created, therefore another market segment can now be conquered.

Two-digit Growth Rates on the Production Side
After a slight reduction in production numbers in the years 2001 and 2002, the German plastic tube industry is again reporting steady growth rates as of 2003. Particularly high growth rates - in the two-digit range, in fact - were achieved in 2005 and 2006. According to the association, 2006 was a "super year" for the German plastic tube manufacturers. In comparison with the previous year, total production increased by 70,000 tons to a total of 665,000 tons, which corresponds to a plus of 11.8 percent.

During 2006, the economic dynamics in the export market sparked improvements on the domestic market, as well. Thus group companies as well as owner-operated plastic tube producers in Germany started to expand their capacities through investments into new extrusion systems and injection moulding machines. At the same time, they also introduced measures for greater cost-efficiency. Accordingly, plastics and rubber machine producers, too, reported order increases of 15 percent. According to information supplied by PlasticsEurope Germany, the Association of Plastics Producers, consumption of standard plastics increased between 2005 and 2006 from 7.23 to 7.63 million tons, i.e. by 5.5 percent.

Recovery of Construction Industry brings Benefits
In Germany, plastic tubes cover a significant portion of the overall plastics consumption. As stated by the KRV, the construction industry accounts for a good 25.2 percent of the plastics consumption, and of this amount, about 27 percent is used in plastic tube applications.