By John Whitehead, European Plastics News
Engel ceo Peter Neumann has painted a bleak picture of the current injection moulding machine market, warning that global sales this year are likely to amount to just 39 000 units, compared to 91 000 units in 2007.
Speaking at the company's technical symposium in St Valentin, Austria, Neumann forecast European sales of 7 000 machines, half the level of two years ago. Sales in the Americas for 2009 are predicted to total 4 000, down from 7 000 in 2007, while the Asian market is forecast at 28 000 machines compared to 70 000 in 2007.
Neumann said sales to the automotive sector are likely to be down by 70 percent in 2009, while sales to the technical moulding sector are forecast to drop by 65 percent and to packaging firms by 15 percent. Only medical sales will show a positive trend, with a 5 percent rise, he said.
For Engel, the impact of the crisis is likely to be a drop in turnover to Euro 400 million ($566 million) for financial year 2009/10, which began in April, compared to Euro 591 million in 2008/09.
Engel will maintain its development efforts, whose fruits were on display for the 2000 visitors from 45 countries who attended the event, Neumann stressed. Some 20 machines featuring a wide variety of technologies were on display at the company's St Valentin plant, home of its bigger machine range.
Developments on show included smaller models in the Duo pico two platen range, new Clearmelt technology for over moulding with transparent polyurethane for high quality, scratch resistant surfaces and fast cycling electric machines for packaging. The company also highlighted its new Onyx ultra hard wearing screw and new e-factory software module.
Underlining Engel's successful growth in recent years, Neumann disclosed that the company puts its share in the European market at 27 percent, compared with 19 percent in 2004. Worldwide, the company holds a 13 percent share of the market, he estimated.
The company had discussed whether to go ahead with the event in view of the crisis, he acknowledged, but decided that the importance of showing its continuing innovation successes justified the decision.