February 20th, 2024

Throughout the last four years, the plastics molding industry has navigated through a sea of challenges: a global pandemic, persistent labor shortages and an unpredictable economic backdrop, among others. The resilience and adaptability demonstrated during these times have been due to much origination and investment. As 2024 unfolds, the industry stands at a crossroads, embracing “cautious optimism” as its guiding principle, a testament to its enduring spirit and hopeful outlook towards a future that, while uncertain, is filled with promising opportunities.

The fifth annual survey from Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing offers a panoramic view of the trade’s dominant attitudes, reflecting a guarded yet positive mindset. Compared to the previous year’s apprehensions, a significant 56% of participants now expresses enthusiasm for the coming year – a strong indicator of this manufacturing sector’s ability to withstand adversity. Additionally, responses imply that capital spending would be wisely directed on auxiliary equipment as opposed to primary. This shift suggests a strategic pivot for preserving financial success while still exploring avenues that promote expansion and new methods of manufacturing.

Below we will highlight more key findings from the Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing’s survey and take a look at how this could shape the next chapter in plastic injection molding.

Investment Trends: Balancing Growth and Prudence

The existing investment landscape reveals a more pointed approach when deciding about what outlays would generate the best results. While the intent to expand manufacturing capacities is clear, with 85% of potential investors citing it as a primary motive, there’s a noticeable restraint in the scale of ventures. Most respondents are looking at amounts below the $1 million threshold, indicative of a deliberate tactic that values incremental growth and risk mitigation, especially in a post-pandemic world still shadowed by fiscal uncertainties.


Processing Techniques: Embracing Diversity and Innovation

The diversity in processing techniques, from traditional injection molding and mold making to additive manufacturing and recycling, demonstrates versatile and adaptable solutions of exploration. This wide array of methods not only caters to a broad spectrum of marketplace demands but also opens new frontiers for venture capital, particularly in models that align with sustainability and efficiency goals. 

Overcapacity Challenges: Seeking New Horizons

The issue of overcapacity, a remnant of the pandemic’s needs-based surge, presents a significant hurdle. Industry analysts like Laurie Harbour highlight the underutilization plaguing many operations, a situation that causes a calculated change into untouched markets and applications that enhance capacity, fulfillment and continued perseverance.

Machinery Manufacturers: A Mixed Outlook

The perspective from machinery manufacturers reveals a spectrum of expectations for 2024, ranging from circumspect forecasts due to economic headwinds to confident projections in related segments. This wide-ranging conjecture showcases the multifaceted nature of our trades’ recovery path, influenced by broader economic factors as well as sector-specific trends and innovations.

Embracing Sustainability: The Road to Future Growth

Environmental awareness continues to be a central theme in the industry’s forward-looking policies. Intentions are increasingly channeled to development and processes that not only promise operational proficiency but also support “green” stewardship. From recycling initiatives to advanced exploration of bioplastics, we are poised to redefine its evolution, embedding sound ecological solutions at its core.

The Path Ahead: Strategic Foresight and Improvement

As the plastics molding industry charts its course through 2024, our survey shows that the principles of vigilant optimism, intentional insight and premeditated advancement are at the forefront. The commitment to balance outgrowth with financial success, exploring fresh possibilities and embracing sustainable practices demonstrate its strength and flexibility during these times. In navigating through the complexity of economic, environmental and technological elements, there needs to be a persistent vision that seeks not just recovery but a reimagined potential of worthwhile modernism.

In the face of ongoing trials and potential, the plastics molding industry’s outlook in 2024 proves that it is not only surviving but thriving through adjustment and notable advancements. Slide Products Sales Manager, Betsi Burns, commented: “We are pleased to see such constructive conclusions from this year’s analysis and looking forward to new opportunities and prospects in our industry!”

See the Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing’s survey details.


Technical Tips and Helpful Hints Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for time-saving tips to help you maximize productivity in your molding process.




Upon signing up, we'll send you a digital package of our popular best practices documents. We hope you enjoy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Auto Robot Detection Failed.
Please check the box.



Thank You!