23/02/2016 06:13 AST

Despite the downward slump in oil prices affecting businesses across the region, experts at the multi-industry trade event at Expo Centre Sharjah are confident that the regional plastics, molds, printing and packaging industries will remain virtually untouched.

Top executives taking part in the Plastivision Arabia, Arabia Mold, and Print Pack Arabia exhibitions believe that demand from domestic as well as Asian markets is not hit and that this will prompt the regional industry to continue to invest in advanced production & processing technology to achieve greater efficiency. The four-day event was opened by Shaikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and was also attended by Amar Agarwal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of Chhattisgarh, India; Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Owais, chairman of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of Expo Centre Sharjah.

"There is a renewed focus on the downstream capabilities by regional governments. Besides, the UAE is the least impacted by oil slump because it is the most diversified among oil-exporting countries. The industry is also upbeat because demand for plastics and packaging products has not diminished. Hence, business owners and industrialists are keen to explore innovative technologies and maintain or establish business contacts with suppliers, even if business projects are not rolled out immediately," said Al Midfa. Experts also point out that low oil prices will in fact prod the plastics and packaging industries to improve their efficiency and sustainability across all facets of the sector, and in the process keep their products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. With the UAE's GDP expected to grow by nearly three per cent in 2016, according to the median forecast by several research reports and consultancies, the manufacturing industry, including plastics processing, printing & packaging, is likely to expand at a rate greater than the GDP growth.

The three shows at the exhibition will cater to the industry and highlight the latest technology, machinery and processes, as well as assess changing market dynamics that will help improve its efficiency and productivity. Featuring over 250 exhibitors from nearly 20 countries, the show offers live demonstrations, giving visitors an opportunity to experience the latest technology and materials first hand.

Plastivision Arabia features pavilions from Taiwan, India and China, besides special focus areas such as 'Plastiworld - The Finished Goods Pavilion' and 'Filling & Packaging' as well as a job fair. Other key highlights will be the 'Investment in India Summit' to be held on February 23 at 11 am and the technical seminars on February 24. Aimed at complementing Print Pack Arabia, the Arab Paper 2016 trade fair as well as a special section on corrugation machinery also made their debut.

The main focus at ArabiaMold this year is 3D technology, where visitors have the opportunity to check out a full range of 3D printers and scanners from leading global manufacturers.

P. Viswanathan, division manager at Jacky's Business Solutions, which is exhibiting its range of 3D printers at the event, said that there has been an increase in the number of customers looking for 3D printers. "We first started offering 3D printers over three years ago, and since then customer interest has definitely been on the rise. Most of our printers are purchased by customers that use them in the education sector such as universities and design schools, but we are also seeing a lot of professionals purchasing small tabletop printers for their homes and small businesses," he said.

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