The plastics industry in Germany at a glanceMüller Ahlhorn
Ahlhorn | 01.10.2020
The plastics industry in Germany at a glance
With sales of around € 81 billion in 2019, the rubber and plastics industry is one of the leading sectors in Germany. The plastics industry alone generated sales of around € 58 billion. The plastics industry has around 292,000 employees, around 53,000 of whom work in production. The most important consumer of plastics is the packaging industry.
In addition to the plastics manufacturing industry, the German plastics industry also includes plastics processing companies, plastics machine builders and recycling companies.
Plastics are primarily used for the production of packaging. Plastics are also used in the construction, automotive, furniture and electronics industries, but also in agriculture and medical technology.
The most important plastics at a glance
The most common type of plastic produced in Germany is polyethylene (PE). Polyethylene is by far the most frequently used plastic worldwide and is primarily used for packaging. By adapting process parameters, polymers with different properties can be produced in a targeted manner. In this way, hard or soft plastics, but also waxes, fats and even oils can be made from polyethylene.
In addition to PE, polyamides (PA) are also frequently used in industry. Polyamides are linear polymers and are characterized by tear-resistant fibers. In 2014, worldwide sales of around € 20.5 billion were achieved with the materials PA6 and PA66. Type PA6 accounts for the primary part of the total polyamide demand. Because of their excellent strength and toughness, plastics made from PA are often used as construction materials.
Polyimide (PI) are used in the electronics, electric motor and medical technology industries, but also in the field of 3D printing. Good electrical insulation and temperature stability are essential properties of the material. Films made from polyimide typically act as an insulating and protective layer on electrostatically sensitive and fragile components. Their protective effect is available during the entire production process of electronic products and is often still present in the end consumer good.