Describing China as the “the most important total market”, VDMA said another €500 million worth of machinery were produced by German manufacturers in China mainly for the local market.
Italy made a big leap from rank 6 to rank 4, with €250 million worth of delivery to the country, marking a 32.1% jump in sales.
Particularly, said VDMA, the Italian government’s focus on “Industry 4.0” were reflected in purchases.
A reversal in the negative trend in Russia was also witnessed in 2017, with the country posting a 34.1% increase in machinery orders from Germany.
However, said VDMA, the high growth rate is a result of “the stimulation of” the local packaging sector and does not mirror a nationwide recovery of the market.
In total, €114 million of German plastics and rubber machinery were exported to Russia.
VDMA also noted that in Brazil, “the longest and strongest recession has come to an end”.
Despite a 35.4% growth to €75 million, VDMA said the Brazilian market needed more time to fully recover.
“Investments, for example, only pick up slowly, which is mainly due to the fact that there is a lot of uncertainty in the market ahead of this year’s presidential election,” it noted.
For 2018, VDMA has predicted 3% growth for the German rubber and plastics machinery sector, with full order books for the year.
“This should, however, not hide the fact that the climate is starting to change,” warned Thorsten Kühmann, managing director of VDMA plastics and rubber machinery.
“We are currently in a very long boom phase which is already exceeding its usual length. Due to this, the delivery times of the machinery manufacturers as well as those of the suppliers are unusually long,” he noted.
Additionally, Kühmann warned of that companies are currently facing “massive problems” to find qualified skilled workers.