The Japanese company Toshiba Machine Group is distributed in the Spanish plastics market through a distributor with extensive experience such as Olmaq Maquinaria, S.L. (Valencia). The firm has not missed its appointment with the market study of injection machines, robots and peripherals that we organized from Plasticos Universales / Interempresas. For the company's commercial director, it was fortunate to have held the last edition of the K fair before the pandemic where all the companies had already presented their latest technologies and solutions for the plastic processing sector.
Against all odds, in 2020 the economy has received the strong impact of the coronavirus pandemic. How has your company experienced this situation?
At first, the impact was significant, leaving a multitude of new projects that were planned to be executed in 2020 on stand-by, due to the uncertainty caused by this new situation, but subsequently it has led to the emergence of new opportunities that have compensated, and even surpassed, what has been stopped being executed.
In general, we can say that it has affected us, but by adapting to the new situation we have managed to minimize the negative impact.
The plastic industry and the material as such have been an example in this pandemic: plastic masks and respirators and committed companies putting their production at the service of the health authorities, just at a time when plastic was in a very media campaign. hard. Do you think the image of plastic has been reinforced?
We sincerely believe that no, it has not been reinforced. The campaign against the use of plastics is so brutal that no matter how much the plastics industry has tried to help as much as possible in this pandemic by adapting to manufacturing PPE, screening tests, respirators, etc., the images in all means continue to be that of plastic waste in seas, mountains, etc. It could have been a great opportunity to change the discourse and make public opinion see that the problem is not plastic, much less the industry in this sector, but the use that some irresponsible people make of it.
COVID-19 has left 2020 without fairs and predictably a 2021 in which the fair scene will also be affected. What has the absence of fairs meant for your company from the point of view of sales, launching new technologies and making them known?
Logically, it has had a negative impact, but taking into account that the K took place a few months before the start of the pandemic, it has not been as negative as it would have been in other circumstances, since all manufacturers take advantage of this fair to give know the most important news.
Which industrial segments that process plastic do you expect to perform better in 2021?
In 2021 we continue in a general state of uncertainty, and everything depends on the evolution of the pandemic. If vaccination is on the right track and the effects are as expected, we assume that in the second half of 2021 there will be a significant rebound in the economy, but in the meantime we will continue as in 2020, that is, with sectors such as medical on the rise, the packaging being maintained and the car, in which we must also add the lack of electronic supplies to all the previous problems, without finishing starting.
A detail that has begun to be observed is that due to the difficulty in transportation (increased cost and lack of containers), some of the parts that were being manufactured in China are being manufactured again in Europe, which obviously can provide a small respite for European economies.
Can you highlight any technology in the solutions you provide that will emerge soon?
Our representatives generally announce the most important developments at the 'Solution Fair' fair, which Shibaura organizes at its facilities in Numazu (Japan) every year in the month of May, so whether in person or virtually, We will have to wait for the celebration of it.
There will be important news, but at the moment we cannot anticipate anything.
What message do plastic converters convey to you about the current situation? Has the impact been strong? Are they optimistic? Is there interest in automating processes?
The message they transmit is no different from other sectors. In general, it is a message of concern, and although it has affected most companies quite negatively, there is some optimism in the medium term.
What prospects does your company have for 2021?
We trust that as the vaccination process progresses it will have a significant effect on the economy, which is why we anticipate that recovery will begin to be noticeable in the second half of the year.