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Packaging machine demand grows

Global demand for packaging machinery is forecast to increase 4.9 percent per year through 2010, reaching more than $33 billion. Developing countries will account for some of the fastest growth opportunities because of industrialization-related fixed-investment activity, rising per capita incomes and growth in packaged goods production. While Eastern Europe and Asia will drive much of that growth, China will record the largest gains of any single country, surpassing Japan to become the second largest market in the world behind the U.S. Sales are expected to be strong in India, Russia, Mexico and South Korea. Although the rate of growth will be less robust than in emerging markets, sales of packaging machinery in the U.S. and Japan will show renewed strength though 2010, according to World Packaging Machinery, a new study from The Freedonia Group (www.freedoniagroup.com-).

Labeling and coding equipment will register the strongest gains of any machinery category, stimulated by the rising consumption of label-intensive, nondurable goods, as well as by the mandated use of radio frequency identification tags by suppliers to the Department of Defense and to Wal-Mart. Demand for filling and form/fill/seal equipment—the most widely used type of packaging machinery—will continue to rise at an above-average pace. New generations of such machinery, with improved efficiency and flexibility, are boosting replacement demand, as is an increased number of applications for this equipment. In terms of specific markets, pharmaceutical and personal care products represent the fastest-growing segments for packaging machinery. Sales will be spurred by increased spending for pharmaceuticals in developing countries, by the growing use of disposable medical devices and by an aging population in developed countries like the U.S.

The recent Shipments and Outlook Study from the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (www.pmmi.org-) reports that U.S. packaging machinery demand grew 8.1 percent in 2005, growing to an estimated $5.675 billion. With few exceptions, the results were favorable across the board. In particular, shipments to the U.S. domestic market were up sharply, while exports rose at a moderate pace. While much of the growth was linked to the sustained strength of the U.S. economy and improved capacity utilization—which encourages some degree of expansion—the underlying thrust of demand was based on end-users' efforts to reduce labor costs and improve productivity. In particular, companies are replacing older machinery with newer, more automated models featuring state-of-the-art technology. To see the full summary of this study, including charts outlining the fastest-growing machinery segments, go to our November online exclusive at www.packagingdigest.com/info/shipments06.

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