Conclusions from Equiplast 2023: A positive outlook for the plastic sector in Spain

At the recent International Plastics and Rubber Exhibition, Equiplast, at Fira Barcelona, an exhaustive report on the situation of the plastics industry in Spain was presented

The EQUIPLAST report, based on data from 2021-2022, reveals a strong and recovering sector, overcoming the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The plastics industry is booming

Spain has more than 3,700 companies related to plastic, which have a turnover of 27,000 million euros. Spain consolidates its position as a leading player in the European plastics market and a significant driver of the country’s industrial production.

Good level of growth in the plastic sector

The plastics sector experienced a notable turnover growth of 16.3% in 2021 compared to the previous year. This increase aligns with global changes driven by the pandemic, rising raw material costs, increased energy expenditures, and disruptions to global supply chains. Following this trend, the chemical sector as a whole in Spain also grew by 19.1% in 2021 and continued to grow by 16.3% in 2022.

Diverse dynamics within the plastic sector

Different industry segments showed varying levels of post-pandemic dynamism. The machinery sector stabilized, overcoming challenges related to raw materials, energy costs and components, while the mold sector remained relatively stable with no significant deviations from pre-pandemic production and consumption levels.

Role in key industries

The plastic processing sector closely reflects the activity and behavior of the demanding industries in Spain. It plays a vital role in the manufacturing of packaging solutions, which are among the most powerful in Europe.

Plastic converters for the automotive industry experienced a temporary slowdown in 2021, but are recovering, given the role of plastics in reducing component weight, improving efficiency and reducing emissions.

The recycling renaissance

The plastics recycling sector is experiencing a resurgence in activity. Spain has a solid industrial capacity for the processing and recovery of plastics, which makes it one of the main players in Europe.

In the coming years (2023-2025), this processing capacity will be further strengthened through new investments in chemical recycling infrastructure.

The strategic challenges

The plastic sector in Spain is addressing a series of strategic challenges. These challenges include the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies for automation in machinery and plastic transformation processes.

Sustainability and minimizing environmental impacts are driving changes in product design and circularity. Furthermore, regulatory frameworks have influenced the market, leading to the emergence of recycled plastics, bioplastics, biodegradable plastics and compostable materials.

Emphasis on innovation

Innovation and research and development (R+D+i) are essential for the future of the sector. The chemical industry as a whole in Spain is known for its innovative capacity, contributing between 1,143 and 4,200 million euros in investment in internal R&D in Spain.

This innovation extends to the development of new materials, smart polymers, hybrid polymers, thermoplastic composites and other advanced solutions. Technological improvements in machinery and components are also in focus to improve production efficiency and competitiveness.

Conclusion of the EQUIPLAST 2023 report

In conclusion, the Equiplast 2023 report shows an encouraging outlook for the plastic sector in Spain. It demonstrates resilience, growth and adaptability in the face of challenges, positioning itself for a bright and sustainable future.

For more detailed information and analysis, you can access the full Equiplast 2023 report on the event’s official website.