According to AMI Germany remains the largest producer of compounds in Europe and is still a country which has seen investment to expand capacity. In 2017 Lehmann&Voss laid the foundation for a 4.5 million Euro laboratory and technical centre and Delta Kunststoffe invested in a new twin extruder.
The pull of Central and Eastern Europe, like many other parts of the European plastics industry, has been a big draw for companies looking to capitalize on the cheap labour force and operating costs. Investment by the compounding industry in this region has also been driven by OEM manufacturing in the region for cars and domestic appliances. Towards the end of 2017 A. Schulman announced the addition of new extruders at its facilities in Poland and Hungary whilst European machinery producers have seen exports increase in 2017 with Poland and the Czech Republic both being in the top 10 for export markets.
Germany and Italy are the largest markets regarding production but even smaller countries have a noticeable compounding industry and the Benelux region has a reasonably large volume of production in comparison with the overall size of its polymer market as many international companies use it as a base to supply the European market. These countries also have substantial compounding operations operated by the polymer producers. Whilst integrated compounders account for only around 10% of the companies operating in Europe, they are estimated to supply nearly half of all compounded polymers (excluding masterbatch).
AMI’s database of compounders in Europe provides contact and production details on 720 sites producing compounds or masterbatches and is available now.