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Home News Taiwan's Smart Plastic Machine Makers are at the Cutting Edge of Global Circular Economy
Taiwan's Smart Plastic Machine Makers are at the Cutting Edge of Global Circular Economy
Plastic and Rubber Machinery
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Taiwanese manufacturers are seizing the opportunity coming from intelligent manufacturing


The top six exporters of plastic and rubber machinery (Germany, China, Japan, Italy, US, Taiwan, and Austria) saw exports reach US$17 billion in 2020, accounting for nearly 70% of the global total, with Germany continuing to lead the pack with 22% of the global export market. Exports of smart plastic equipment from Germany were key growth drivers, and this trend has pushed forward the intelligent manufacturing transition in other major exporting nations. Taiwanese-made plastic machinery offers high levels of flexibility, customization, and performance, as well as benefiting from Taiwan’s inherent advantages in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, helping Taiwan to rapidly gain ground in the transition towards intelligent manufacturing.


Taiwan is ranked sixth globally in terms of plastic and rubber machinery exports, with exports for the first two quarters growing by 13.5% year on year to reach $488 million. The largest product categories were plastic injection molding machines at $87.7 million or 18% of total exports, followed by plastic extrusion machines at $56.2 million or 12%, and blow molding machines at $43 million or 9%. The impact of the COVID pandemic resulted in a slight decline in the value of global plastic and rubber machinery exports, but improvements in the pandemic situation, the rise of circular economy, and the development of intelligent machinery all helped Taiwanese manufacturers to achieve significant growth, while emerging goals and trends have given companies in this sector renewed focus in terms of development and preparation for future opportunities.


As environmental concerns impact the plastics industry, the future is all about Circular Economy


Global awareness of environmental concerns is growing and people are becoming increasingly conscious of the severity of the plastic pollution problem. On July 3, 2021, the European Union (EU) issued major new restrictions on plastics, banning the sale and use of all single-use plastic products including straws, cotton buds and utensils. This legislation has also led countries in other parts of the world to launch environmental campaigns and policies aimed at reducing the use of plastics, but the convenience of plastic products means that demand continues to grow from an already-high baseline. The next step for the plastics industry therefore, has to be building up the circular economy, which, among other things, will involve improving the performance of equipment, increasing the use of recycling equipment, and making greater use of recyclable and renewable materials.



In Germany, the world’s largest producer of plastic and rubber machinery, both official and popular efforts to reduce the use of plastics are already having an effect on injection molding, blow molding and thermoforming machine sectors. At the same time, sales of machines for manufacturing automotive parts, packaging consumables and plastic containers are also falling. All of this could ultimately lead to a decline in Germany’s plastic machinery sector, so the industry is transitioning towards greater customization and optimization of production processes. For instance, machines designed for zero-waste production, as well as developing new technologies that can immediately recycle raw materials during the production process, thereby achieving the ultimate goals of strengthening environmental protections and creating a circular economy.


Taiwanese plastic and rubber machinery makers have been making preparations to deal with these issues for some time. Victor Taichung has put smart manufacturing and green energy at the heart of its factory operations, with intelligent production lines that can operate for up to 72 hours without the need for lighting, as well as production lines that are custom-built to increase capacity for individual customers; Chen Hsong is focused on launching fully electric injection molding machines driven by four high-end servo motors that deliver greater performance, accuracy and energy savings; and FCS has developed the iMF4.0 Intelligent ManuFactory system, which can be combined with injection molding machines to facilitate the transfer of information, make automatic adjustments and control quality parameters, or connected to smart sensor modules to improve production yields and avoid wastage, helping to bring the goal of building a circular economy a step closer.


As the sixth-ranked exporting region of plastic and rubber manufacturing equipment, Taiwan also has a formidable background in sectors including precision machinery, ICT and optoelectronics, with manufacturers able to offer high levels of flexibility, customization and performance. It is also being widely recognized for its impressive technical capabilities and aftersales service. Taiwanese plastic and rubber equipment makers are ideal partners for the global manufacturing industry and will continue to work hand in hand with customers to build the future of intelligent manufacturing, environmental protection, reduced energy consumption, and a strong circular economy.


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