Thorsten Kühmann, Director of the VDMA plastics and rubber machinery association, is confident about the current situation on the Russian market: “The patience and persistence shown by the German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers, who continued to cultivate German-Russian business relationships even in bad economic times, paid off in 2017. After years of decline, deliveries from Germany increased substantially. As a result, the poor previous year was already exceeded considerably in the first eleven months of 2017. This economic recovery is being supported by an improvement in the basic mood in the Russian economy. This is leading to greater willingness to invest, which is being reflected primarily in the packaging sector.
In 2016 – when there was a recession – the German market share amounted to 26.3 per cent, followed by China with 24.4 per cent and Italy with 12.0 per cent. This means that it will continue to be important for the German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers to maintain their local presence in future as well, in order to be able to keep the small lead they hold on the market. We expect the Russian economy to continue its recovery and to stimulate investments in the packaging industry, since demand for high-quality packaged goods is growing. An increasing number of positive signs are coming from the automotive sector and the construction industry too. Machines “made in Germany” will benefit from this and will strengthen their position as market leaders in Russia. We are, however, starting from a low level following years of recession. For the time being – in the short term – it cannot be expected that the heights reached by German exports of plastics and rubber machinery in the exceptionally good years of 2012 and 2013 will be repeated.
Bernd Nötel, the on-site VDMA manager responsible for interplastica, confirmed the positive response to German exhibits at the trade fair. He pinpointed three trends that will guarantee good business in future as well: “Industry 4.0 is an issue that has reached Russia. Russian experts are very interested in the potential of being able to operate efficiently and sustainably with networked production systems – with particular emphasis on saving energy and material costs. A number of interplastica exhibitors had solutions for this on their stands.
The importance of recycling is increasing too: close attention is being paid in Russia to the “European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy”, which the European Commission has compiled. It is expected not only that there will be growth in plastics recycling activities – including household waste – but also that the proportion of materials used that is accounted for by recyclate will increase. With a corresponding impact on machine technology too.
The third interesting observation at interplastica: the manufacturers of tools and moulds are operating to an increasing extent as system suppliers and provide their customers with comprehensive solutions in co-operation with machine manufacturers.”