Plastics machinery shipments in North America continued to increase in the third quarter, according to statistics from the Plastics Industry Association’s Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES).

The preliminary estimate of shipments of primary plastics equipment (injection molding and extrusion) for reporting companies totaled $349.4 million in the third quarter, a 4.1% increase from the revised $335.5 million second-quarter results. Injection molding shipments in the second quarter were higher than previously thought, added CES, with year-over-year shipments growing 5.6%.

“Plastics machinery shipments recovered in the third quarter following a weak second quarter,” said Perc Pineda PhD, Chief Economist of PLASTICS (Washington, DC). “We expect higher shipments in the fourth quarter. We have a tight labor market and U.S. manufacturers, including plastics machinery manufacturers, have been working on production backlogs. As a result, shipments are pushed into the next quarters,” Pineda added.

On a quarterly basis, injection molding shipments increased 2.1%. Single- and twin-screw extruder shipments maintained double-digit growth of 23.8% and 14.2%, respectively. Compared to Q3 2017, shipments of injection molding were up 4.6%, single-screw extruders rose 7.7% and twin-screw extruders increased 17.2% over the same period.

“Except for soft auto and home sales numbers in the third quarter, the U.S. economy is still in expansionary mode—and that’s good news for plastics machinery manufacturing. While there are projections of moderate growth next year, it is expected that the U.S. economy will remain healthy,” said Pineda.

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