Published by Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing


Machinery Buying Outlook Optimistic for 2021

Machinery buying survey shows optimism for recovery COVID-19 and its economic ripples affected machinery makers and plastics processors in different ways in 2020; some experienced growth while others suffered. Now they’re looking ahead with optimism to a post-pandemic manufacturing landscape.

In Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing’s second annual survey of machinery buying plans, conducted in October, 61 percent of the 136 respondents plan to buy primary processing equipment in 2021. Companies say new equipment is needed to expand capacity (69 percent), replace existing equipment (52 percent) and/or add new processing capabilities (17 percent). An overwhelming 73 percent of respondents expect their business to improve in 2021.

Perc Pineda, chief economist for the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), said the survey results reflect the bouncebacks in several major markets, including automotive and construction, and the pandemic-fueled strength of the medical and consumer packaging markets.

Of respondents who plan to buy primary equipment in 2021, about half will invest at least a portion of their budget in used or refurbished machinery, although some noted that market is tight.

Forty-eight percent of respondents plan to buy automation equipment in 2021, and of those, 60 percent are investing more than last year. Ongoing labor shortages are one reason; others cited COVID-19 and social distancing precautions.