A new year that promises further growth in depth (January 2020)
by Adrian Lunney
It seems that we have hardly sat down at our desks before the wheels begin to turn again on the international plastics marketing show. In a few days time the WITTMANN Group will be represented in Cairo at Egypt’s leading plastics exhibition, followed by exhibitions in Switzerland, then Russia. February allows for a swift intake of breath before the important Mexican industry event gets underway in early March, followed by the Eurostampi show in Parma, Italy. And so ends the first quarter of 2020.
The plastics industry is truly a global culture and language. The SmartPower, PRIMUS, and GRAVIMAX brands, for example, need no translation at any of these international events. And with a few cosmetic exceptions (in aesthetics of machine build) every country now speaks more or less the same manufacturing language. This interconnectedness has raised the bar for everyone. Quality-wise there is simply no option left in global plastics processing for making inferior products at lower cost. In that sense a “race to the bottom” on price is simply not possible. In the global plastics village things are continually levelling up not down. Looking to the future it makes complete sense that suppliers continue to assist their customers by enabling them to compete more effectively. This means more intelligent and more connected manufacturing. Most typically this means providing processors with one integrated, connected and transparent plastics processing system, a system that has complete functionality, one that can generate data in equal measure to moldings and one that also runs at the lowest possible energy cost.
We are of course in a period of transition and the above situation is often an ideal that many users can only strive for. Many plastics processors still work, for example, with legacy equipment of various kinds, mixing and matching various technologies, old and new, in order to satisfy the requirements of their customers. However, as the manufacturing landscape continues to level up and as the demands for quality, data, and traceability continue to rise – so the attractions of a “plug and produce” fully integrated system become inevitable. These upward trends are irreversible. In that sense the future of plastics remains bright. The Smart Factory or Industry 4.0 based workplace gives us hope for further innovation and progress.
On that positive note – a very Happy New Year!