Innovative machines in vogue

In the ranking of sub-sectors in mechanical engineering, the manufacturers of packaging machines are constantly climbing up. The top 3 are in sight.

According to the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the production of the German food processing and packaging machinery industry grew by 4.8 percent in 2017 and reached a value of 14 billion euros. The sector thus advanced to fourth place out of a total of 34 engineering branches. With an average export share of 84 percent, the food machinery and packaging machinery industry is also above average in foreign trade, exporting machinery and equipment worth 8.5 billion euros in 2017. This corresponds to a share of 5 percent of total German machine exports. In 2018, the VDMA Association of Food Processing Machinery and Packaging Machinery (Fachverband Nahrungsmittelmaschinen und Verpackungsmaschinen – Fachverband Nahrungsmittelmaschinen und Verpackungsmaschinen – German Engineering Federation) again expects sales growth for the mechanical engineering sector of the same name to be in the order of 4 to 5 percent. The packaging machinery sector is expected to make a stronger contribution to growth than the food machinery sector.

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In certain market segments, such as the meat industry, the demand for coordinated line concepts is increasing, and one of the trends in the packaging machine industry is therefore the development of companies from machine suppliers to system providers. Product portfolios are expanded and upstream and downstream process steps are integrated. With the appropriate machines, the packaging specialist can offer integrated, integrated and automated solutions from a single source, from portioning and packaging to the end-of-line area. The automation of different packaging processes is also progressing. Today, the first suppliers of vacuum packaging machines are offering developments with which flexible packaging sizes can be filled in a continuous and fully automatic filling and loading process.

Machine manufacturers also react to legal changes. For example, the new plastics strategy of the European Union is being taken into account with packaging machines that can also process fibre-based packaging materials such as paper or cardboard. In mechanical engineering as a whole, developments are determined by digitization and networking, automation, modularization and integration as well as individualization and flexibility. Packaging machines are also being developed to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0. To be successful, data from all relevant processes must be continuously recorded and individual processes must be reliably controlled in complex production environments.

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