The plastics industry in GermanyMüller Ahlhorn
Ahlhorn | 01.10.2020
The plastics industry in Germany
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 employs about 292,000 people, of which about 53,000 work in production. The most important buyer of plastics is the packaging industry.
In addition to the plastics producing industry, the German plastics industry includes plastics processing companies, plastics machinery manufacturers 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.
An overview of the most important plastics
The most produced type of plastic in Germany is polyethylene (PE). Polyethylene is by far the most commonly used plastic worldwide and is primarily used for packaging. By adjusting process parameters, polymers with different properties can be produced in a targeted manner. Thus, hard or soft plastics, but also waxes, fats and even oils can be produced from polyethylene.
Besides PE, polyamides (PA) are also frequently used in industry. Polyamides are linear polymers and are characterized by tear-resistant fibers. In 2014, a worldwide turnover of about 20.5 billion € was achieved with the materials PA6 and PA66. PA6 accounts for the primary share of the total demand for polyamides. Because of their excellent strength and toughness, PA plastics are often used as construction materials.
Polyimide (PI) is used in the electronics, electric motor and medical technology industries, but also in 3D printing. Good electrical insulation properties and temperature stability are essential properties of the material. Films made of polyimide typically act as an insulating and protective layer on electrostatically sensitive and fragile components. Their protective effect is available throughout the production process of electronic products and is often still present in the final consumer product.