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Austrian expertise is hidden inside every Lego brick. Because Lego uses injection moulding machines from Austria for its plastic components. And anyone flying in an A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world, can look out on fuselage and wing parts made in Austria. These are just two examples of the strong international market position of Austrian companies in the chemicals and plastics sector, which has an export rate of approx. 70%. Many of the companies are traditional enterprises that are global leaders with pioneering achievements and innovation. And the positive trend is continuing in the Austrian chemicals and plastics industries. This is guaranteed through the outstanding employee training and high research rates – twelve per cent in the pharmaceutical sector!

The Austrian plastics industry incorporates the entire value chain for plastics, from the raw material to the product. These include

  • production of raw materials
  • plastics mechanical Engineering
  • tool and mould construction
  • plastics processing
  • plastics-specific services and
  • research facilities and plastics training facilities

In Austria, a regional plastics cluster facilitates close collaboration between the various areas in technology, development and training. The companies in the industry include both global players as well as frontrunners in niche areas that supply sustainable products of the highest quality to their customers.

The chemicals industry facilitates innovations of downstream productions. As a cross-section industry, the plastics sector has links to many other fields such as mechatronics, information technology, medical technology, automotive. The efficient communication with the customers is a particular winning formula for the industry in Austria that is appreciated for its reliability.

In global use

The Austrian chemicals and plastics industry is active internationally. For instance, the global research centre of an originally Danish company has been located for some years at the "Chemiepark" in Linz, Upper Austria. Here, 350 employees carry out research on the materials of the future. Austria also has the world's leading company in the area of chemicals and metallurgy with branches in Canada, Slovenia, Japan and China. Incidentally, this company was already established in the year 1898. And one of the world's largest consumer goods producers purchases its packaging from an Austrian plastics and packaging manufacturer.

Cooperation for optimal solutions

Austrian plastics companies are characterised by a particular ability to collaborate. They work on current topics in platforms and with university and non-university research partners. For instance, the "Smart Plastics" initiative is the professional service and know-how network for projects at the interface of mechatronics, plastics and design.  Seventeen partners make use of their membership in the cooperation and innovation platform. Other forms of collaboration are devoted to the topics of lightweight construction and the flexibilisation and optimisation of production. Intensive work is done by the plastics cluster, the network of the plastics industry in Upper Austria and the neighbouring countries, on the topic of bioplastics.

Outstanding training

The highly pronounced engineering makes the chemicals and plastics industry in Austria particularly competitive. The dual system in the training of apprentices is a role model for many other countries. In addition, there are colleges and technical colleges focusing on plastics, a degree course at a university of applied sciences and the university degree course at the Mining University Leoben and at Johannes Kepler University in Linz.

Focus on environment

"Responsible Care" is a global voluntary initiative of the chemicals industry to improve the health, safety and environment situation. Austria was the first country in which an external audit of compliance with the RC specifications was held. External audits are obligatory for the participating Austrian companies. Austria thus holds a unique position in Europe.

In many applications, plastic saves substantially more energy and resources than were required for its production. Constant further development and the trend towards particularly lightweight plastics products help to ensure that only as much material is used as is absolutely necessary to ensure the functioning of the product.

Austria's chemicals industry has a pronounced biogenic resource base. In particularly, the plastics cluster deals intensively with this topic. In Austrian biodiesel production, around 40% of the resources used come from the waste management regime. This is a top rating internationally. And another point makes clear that the industry assumes responsibility for the future: Austria does without the use of palm oil.