Pack Expo Las Vegas: Packaging equipment orders on the rise

by Joanie Spencer
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According to PMMI research, the value of domestic shipments rose 2.9% to $7.73 billion in 2016.

At Pack Expo Las Vegas, being held Sept. 25-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, PMMI announced results from its “State of the Industry: U.S. Packaging Machinery” report.

The packaging industry has reached nearly $10 billion annually, said Jorge Izquierdo, vice-president, market development, PMMI, who noted the health of the industry can be seen in its 4.8% growth in 2016. But the standout is where the growth is coming from. Out of that, 2.9% came from local suppliers of packaging equipment, Mr. Izquierdo said.

“The difference was a significant growth in terms of imports by mainly European equipment manufacturers,” he said, noting about a 12% jump in imports.

Mr. Izquierdo attributed the growth in part to the exchange rate between euros and dollars in 2016.

“[The euro] was quite strong,” he said. “However, since the end of last year, the euro has depreciated over 15%. If you look at a 15% difference in a piece of equipment, that’s a significant difference.”

The United States can still expect to see a bit of growth for imports. It will remain steady for the remainder of 2017, Mr. Izquierdo said, but it should taper off in the next few years.

Overall, Mr. Izquierdo said the total market will increase by the end of this year.

“It’s not as drastic as 2016, but we’re looking at growth of about 3%,” he said. And in the next three to five years, he predicts 2.5% annual growth.

With 3.6% annual growth, the pharmaceutical industry appears to be the fastest growing, though it’s not the largest packaging segment — that remains food.

One contributing factor for progress in food and beverage packaging— which experienced a 2.3% CAGR increase — is the expansion of stock-keeping units that food manufacturers are now producing. More products and more frequent changeovers demand greater flexibility from packaging equipment.

“It used to be that one product was packaged 365 days a year,” Mr. Izquierdo said. “But now we are finding they need to switch products two or three times a day. It completely changes how manufacturers are packaging their products. And that’s true for both food and beverage.”

 

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