Though price remains an important part of the purchasing decision, selecting equipment with enhanced productivity and efficiency has become the focal point for plastics processors, according to Plastics Processing — Global Cutting Edge Technologies and Trends, a report from research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Plastics processors are concentrating on emerging next-generation technologies, such as hybrid machines. The hybrid machines with the greatest lure are those that combine servomotors and hydraulic circuit configurations in the clamp mechanism. Molders have started adopting them as better alternatives to all-electric or all-hydraulic clamping systems for their low costs and high processing speed and precision. Technical progress has led to hybrid injection-molding machines that are 15 to 30% faster than competing machines for mold tests.

The industry is also seeing more three-way partnerships among globally leading plastics manufacturers and their primary and secondary equipment suppliers. Many of these partnerships, such as that between Nypro, Husky Injection Molding Systems, and Hekuma in the area of high-tech in-mold labeling, have proved to be extremely productive and cost effective.